Pictured here is a ribbon seal, as was seen in August 2016 along Washington State's Long Beach Peninsula. Photo: NOAA

By Ada Carr
12 October 2016

(Weather Channel) – A NOAA employee was recently treated to the rare sighting of a ribbon seal on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington.

The ribbon seal was reportedly in good health and was spotted making its way safely back into the water when it was seen in August, Mother Nature Network reported. Before this, a ribbon seal had not been spotted this far south in Washington since 2012, the report added.

Ribbon seals (Histriophoca fasciata) can be easily identified by the distinctive light-colored bands or “ribbons” encircling their neck, fore flippers and hips, according to NOAA.

Because they typically spend their time floating on pack ice or in open water, the seals are difficult to study, NOAA also said. This also makes it hard for predators to prey on them. In the mid-1970s, researchers estimated there were 240,000, however, but is no accurate estimate of how many are left. [more]

Ribbon Seal Makes a Rare Appearance in Washington

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