Lacking sea ice, seal pups bask on Nome beaches

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by Your Alaska Link News Team

More than 20 seal pups have been spotted on Nome beaches this year and a marine mammal expert says it's because sea ice disappeared early.

Reports say other young seals have been seen at Wales, Teller and Shaktoolik.

Brandon Ahmasuk , subsistence program director at Kawerak , the Alaska Native regional nonprofit corporation, says sea ice broke up earlier following a warm winter.

Seal pups leave water to bask in the sun, which helps them lose white juvenile coats and grow fur.

Ahmasuk says the seals are weaned after two weeks to a month and left to fend for themselves.

Four ice-dependent seals - bearded, ringed, spotted and ribbon seals - are found in the Bering Strait region. All are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.