Arctic ribbon seal spotted in Seattle

Jan 23, 2012

A ribbon seal commonly found in the frigid waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia has been spotted in the Seattle area thousands of miles away.

NOAA's Peter Boveng studies the seals and says it's highly unusual to see them this far south. Ribbon seals inhabit the northern North Pacific Ocean and sub-Arctic and Arctic seas. Boveng says they haul out on sea ice and rarely come on land.

The ribbon seal, likely a young adult male, has been spotted twice this month and appears to be in good condition. It first showed up on a Seattle woman's dock located along the Duwamish River. Then last Friday, NOAA experts photographed on a dock in Marysville north of Seattle.

The animal has distinctive white bands on a dark coat.