When an animal species remains unseen for-years, one assumes that there are not many left. But in the case of the banded seal, that’s not true, it’s not endangered, it’s just shy.
That’s why animal lovers were so excited when they discovered the beautiful black and white-striped seal on the coast of the U.S. State of Washington.
The seal allowed itself to be seen just long enough to be captured in a few photos, before returning to the sea.
Check out the stunning photos below: and learn more about this relatively unknown sea creature.
Earlier this-year, the banded seal made.one of its rare appearances on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State. According to NOAA Fisheries Service – which also took the photos / the seal was in good condition. However, its visit did not last long, and it soon, returned to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
About 400,000 ribbon seals live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the North Pacific -so they are not an endangered species. However, they live so far out in the ocean that they are rarely seen on the coast.
The last-time such a seal was seen on the U.S. West Coast was actually in 2012, when an animal jumped onto the dock and surprised a Seattle woman.
“When she woke up, it was on her dock, hanging out and sleeping – just chilling,” a ‘USDA Wildlife Service’ employee told LiveScience at the time.
Since then, until this-year, the seals have only been seen in their natural habitat / the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk between Alaska and Russia.
Because ribbon seals inhabit such a remote habitat, there is still much we don’t know about the animals. For example, although we know that the animals have a large inflatable air sac that extends from their neck to the right side of their chest, scientists aren’t sure if it allows the animals to communicate underwater or serves some other function.
Scientists estimate that we will soon see, the seals more, often due to global warming, but we hope’ that these wonderful creatures will be able to enjoy their home in the North Pacific for a long time to come – even if that means they only show up once every few-years.