A baby seal was recently put down by wildlife officials in Washington State after a woman carried the pup off the beach, mistakenly thinking that the seal had been abandoned by its mother.
The incident happened back in May when a woman sighted the seal near Westport, Washington, according to ABC. She decided that the best thing was to take the lonely pup home with her in a plastic bag.
"She then took it home and realized she really didn't know what to do for it or how to take care of it," an official from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network said. "She later called the local aquarium, Westport Aquarium, which is part of our network of volunteers."
The aquarium's director, Marc Myrsell, told ABC News today that when he saw the seal on the woman's deck, it was "alive but extremely lethargic."
"Usually these animals will snap and struggle to get away if you try to approach them, but this pup was so lethargic," Myrsell said. "Putting him in the carrier to take him to a center was like picking up a sleeping human baby."
Initially he and his colleagues hoped to return the pup to the beach where the woman had found the pup, but it was "unfortunately so unresponsive, and so much time had gone by" that they decided the most humane thing to do would be to put it down.
The pup's sad death has only just come to light as the NOAA issued a statement urging locals not to meddle with wildlife.