Many people can say that they’ve seen a seal at least once in their lives. Few people, however, can say that they’ve spotted the extremely elusive ribbon seal in the wild.

Well, a few lucky visitors to Washington States Long Beach Peninsula actually had the rare opportunity to see one ribbon seal face-to-face this August. Thankfully, they also took a bunch of professional photographs so everyone on the World Wide Web can see what they saw. As you can tell from the photos, these seals are noted for their unique white and black striped fur.

Although ribbon seals have been reported in this region of the state before in 2012, they do not often come within close range of humans. Ribbon seals prefer to stay in their natural habitats away from people.

Since these animals are so reclusive, scientists have had a hard time studying them. The places ribbon seals most often congregate are in very dark ice homes in chilly Arctic regions.

While these animals are hard for us humans to see, animal experts say that there is no need to fear their extinction. Most wildlife experts believe that the global population of ribbon seals is around 400,000 today. The main reason the ribbon seals are able to thrive on this earth is mainly due to the fact that they can survive in extremely frigid areas.

By making their homes in the Arctic, humans cannot really disrupt their ecosystem. Wildlife experts say there is nothing stopping this beautiful animal from being wiped away from the earth anytime soon.