Arctic Seal Spotted On Carteret County Beach

The Crystal Coast is home to a very very rare visitor, a seal that normally call arctic waters its home.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum says last week on Harkers Island they found a harp seal. "North Carolina is considered part of the normal winter range for harbor seals, but recently we have seen three additional seal species, all of which we consider well out of their northern normal range," said Keith Rittmaster, museum curator.

The seal was sunning itself on the beach and at last report was doing fine.

Harp seals are typically found from the Arctic to the southeastern coast of Canada. A second harp seal was spotted last week near Wilmington, and a third at Kill Devil Hills.

Rittmaster says during the winter months, sightings of seals on North Carolina beaches have become increasingly frequent, but the harp seal could be a first for Carteret County.

If you see a seal in North Carolina waters, the NC Marine Mammal Stranding Network would like to hear from you. You can call them at (252) 241-5119.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Col. Colt Location: ENC on Mar 3, 2011 at 09:54 AM
    Geologicaly speaking, during the last million years Earth has gone through at least a dozen glaciations. I am shure humans didnt cause them but we may or may not be the be cause of the next dozen. Only the next that most wont surrive and earth will recycle it self as in the past, Mother Earth dont need us.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Mar 3, 2011 at 09:43 AM
    For the love of pete.. So "global warming" was a poor way to name what's happening. So? It doesn't change the fact that weather extremes & shifts are taking place. When I was a child there was almost no such thing as a tornado in CA, & the rare ones that happened were small in size & a big deal in the news. Now, they happen several times a yr. People still act surprised but it's routine now. The atrocity to me is when I see people using their disbelief about that as an excuse to be a planetary slob. Whether you think you make an impact on the climate or not, that doesn't make it ok to be a wasteful resource hog or a litterbug. The consumerism is gross & disrespectful. Plastic building up in the Pacific Vortex is enough reason to buy minimal packaging & recycle properly. Do the right things for the right reasons & stop expending personal energy on arguing about whether Gore knows what he's talking about or not. Yes, it is a cute seal.
  • by David Location: Newfoundland, Canada on Mar 3, 2011 at 09:36 AM
    For all who are wondering why a harp seal would show up - please note that the population in Canada has grown from less than 2 million in 1970 to some 10 million today. If these animals aren't hunted, their population climbs easily because they are very resilient, versatile animals who will eat anything. It's not only their southern range that's extending - their northern range is as well. Think of this next time you hear an anti-seal hunting campaign insinuating that these animals are "endangered". That's the real "baloney" for yah.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2011 at 06:04 AM
    To Jane: You just proved my point. You people are incapable of disagreeing without resorting to name-calling. I assure you that I am not ignorant. I merely refuse to fall in line with the rest of the sheeple. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just changed the oil on my SUV, and I need to go dump out the old oil in the ditch.
  • by Jane Location: Earth on Mar 3, 2011 at 04:20 AM
    To Anonymous on Mar 2, 2011 at 02:25 PM.....Global Warming Aside - your comments pertaining to recycling mark your ignorance. Just how much trash do you think the Earth can hold? Go figure - please!!!!
  • by LaGange Location: MHC on Mar 3, 2011 at 04:04 AM
    To Col. Colt, what you said makes the most sense of anything I have ever heard about global warming..... It is totally true that it started at the end of the last ice age and has been warming ever since..... I was trying to make a joke didnt realize this would turn into a full blown debate about climate change....
  • by Rdoubled on Mar 2, 2011 at 05:34 PM
    Not to mention the hypodermic needles & other medical waste from the N.Y. & N.J. barges that were launched. Surfs up!
  • by jerry Location: enc on Mar 2, 2011 at 02:16 PM
    Before you know it, they`ll copy all the other Northerners that flock down south and take over the beaches and eat all the seafood. At least the seals don`t drive, though.
  • by Dave Location: ENC on Mar 2, 2011 at 01:41 PM
    How much money can you get for one of the pelts?
  • by Brett Location: Surf City on Mar 2, 2011 at 01:20 PM
    Jim at 1:00 PM, I agree! If NCDMF finds out the commercial fisherman can make some money on them, they probably will open up a season on them using gill nets. I am surprised this one got past all the gill nets in NC waters. Game fish for Stripers, Red Drum, and Trout here we come!
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