Fun fact I discovered over at Wind Against the Current: there are seals living in New York Harbor. I lived in NY for about 15 years and I never saw any. But then I left too soon. People began seeing harbor seals wintering on Swinburne and Hoffman Islands in Lower NY Bay in 2001. I was long gone by then.
To be honest I’d never heard of these two islands before I read the post. And for good reason. They’re tiny. They lie about half-way between Coney Island to the east and Staten Island to the west. Why would anyone care about two itty bitty man-made islands that are off-limits to humans, especially when the bright lights of Coney and Staten are there turning your head? (See map above for reference.)
Apparently, the water in the Hudson River and elsewhere has been cleaned up enough that fish are returning to the area, specifically the kind that seals eat. According to nature’s mandate, whither goes the food, so doth the eater of the food. Local expert, Paul Sieswerda, says the population of harbor seals has been expanding southward from the Massachusetts area for a while. That’s one advantage of losing all those manufacturing jobs: less pollution, more nature.
The seals are here for only part of the year, though. They prefer to move to cooler water north during the summer. Makes me wonder if climate change will eventually have an effect and move them back out of the area permanently. Guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, I think it’s wonderful that nature is able to chase its mandate in the waters of the Big Apple.