At FMR, the relatively small (under 150 lbs) and shy harbor seals rule the beach when they come ashore to rest during low tides. Due to their federally protected status as marine mammals, humans are required to stay at least 100 yards away from their resting areas. Depending on where seals opt to haul out, large swaths of the tidepools may be inaccessible to visitors.
Over the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend, this was a common scenario when extremely low afternoon tides brought thousands of visitors to the tidepools.
One of the most important tasks that volunteers perform at FMR is explaining the rules and preventing visitors from disturbing the resting harbor seals. While guarding the seals’ seclusion on Friday, volunteer Carol Davies came up with a great way to take the sting out of asking visitors to proceed no closer: she used a harbor seal hand puppet to do the talking!