Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

It's a startling sight.  You're walking along the beach and suddenly you see a seal on the beach, or worse, smaller seal pups.

This has happened to me a few times at Crane Beach and on Cape Cod.  April, May, and June are the prime months this happens, because this is when harbor seals give birth.  In fact, over the weekend it happened in Maine.

Four harbor seal pups were found abandoned by the Marine Mammals of Maine, and in need of critical care.  Three of the pups needed extra support, but one of the pups was in stable condition.

Why do pups become abandoned?  According to Marine Mammals of Maine (mmome.org), after giving birth, the mama seal leaves her pups on shore, sometimes for an extended period of time while she hunts for food for herself.  The pups can sometimes be alone for up to 24 hours.

Marine Mammals of Maine via Facebook
Marine Mammals of Maine via Facebook

She returns for her pups eventually, but if there are people around the pups, or too much activity, she could abandon them.  This is why it is so important for people not to go near the pups.  Humans should call the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 1-800-532-9551.

If you are not in Maine, and see seal pups, call your local authorities, or 911.

Mmome.org reminds us, "all marine mammals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and that it is illegal to approach them within 150 feet, touch or harass them".

Wildlife.org says viral outbreaks can be a cause of seal strandings as well.  The avian influenza and other viral infections can cause die-offs in populations.  Harbor seals breed in the Gulf of Maine, so there are more harbor seals found than other types.

Another fact is that seals don't need to be in the water all the time.  The mammals come ashore to rest, so don't pour water on them.  They don't need it to survive.

Here's to a full recovery for these little babies in Maine.  Thanks to Mmome for all the good work they do year-round, but especially this season.

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