On the list of horrific things one can come across in a parking lot, a skinned and headless seal pup has to be near the top.
The Peninsula Daily Newsreports that a visitor reported coming across the small, bloody carcass in a parking area at Fort Worden State Park last Wednesday.
Seal pup fur can fetch a bit of money on the black market (this animal's pelt was estimated to have been worth $150) and investigators are treating the animal's death as an open criminal investigation.
"I was shocked when I saw this," said Chrissy McLean, marine science center program coordinator who is also principal investigator for the East Jefferson County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. "I had never seen anything like this before."
. . . The male pup was most likely born in the spring and had probably been weaned, but that could not be determined because the head was missing, she said.
The pup's skin, which can have value on the black market, was removed and its organs were exposed.
The pup was actually found only a short distance away from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, a research center that specializes in studying seals.
Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the PTMSC at (360) 385-5582 ext. 109.