Shark bites three month old seal pup

More severe shark bites seen on seals at Hopkins Beach

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - UPDATE: 7/7/2017 10:45 a.m. Another harbor seal has been bit by a shark this week, this time it was a three month old seal pup.

According to the Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove, the pup can't swim far yet so that means the shark was close to the shoreline when it attacked. The pup was able to swim away and rested on the beach but marine researchers said it definitely was in pain.

The Marine Mammal Center said the pup could heal on its own but if you find the little seal on a beach they would like to know.

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More great white sharks are swimming in the Monterey Bay and a seal in Pacific Grove is the latest victim of an attack.

Shark expert David Ebert travels the world studying sharks and said the population of great whites have been thriving. An incident like what happened to this harbor seal on Tuesday morning is not uncommon.

"Off the top looking at the photo, we're probably looking at a fifteen, sixteen foot shark,” said Ebert. “If it's a female it's probably a juvenile, it's not even a fully grown adult."

Ebert attests the massive increase of great whites to two things. Back in the 1990’s, great white sharks were banned from fisheries. But more significantly, it’s due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act that went into place in 1972.

These conservation efforts allowed the animals sharks hunt (sea otters, sea lions, seals, etc.) to thrive. So as a result, there is more food available for great whites along California’s coast, giving them a reason to flock here.

"But those two things have allowed the population to increase exponentially,” added Ebert. “And we probably have the healthiest white shark populations in the world here along the coast and right here in Monterey Bay."

Ebert also adds that humans should not be too alarmed, just aware. To put things into perspective, the average amount of shark attacks on humans in California is three a year. And over the last 50 years or so, as the both the human and shark populations have increased, the average amount of attacks hasn’t changed.

As for the harbor seal along Hopkins Beach in Pacific Grove, it should survive the bite. Several biologists are monitoring its condition and said the bite did not seem to hit any vital organs. As long as it stays close to shore the wound should heal.

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