Yearling Harp Seal To Be Rescued By MERR
Leah Reynolds was called to the beach today to check on a seal sighting. We asked her to share her story and some details as a MERR volunteer. You will be hearing more from Leah as a field reporter for Delaware Surf Fishing. She will be a wonderful addition to our team.
The seal will be rescued this evening or tomorrow morning. According to Suzanne Thurman of MERR … “The seal may have been eating rocks because of the distended stomach.” Gastroliths, also known as stomach stones. Some animals use small pebbles and rocks to aid in digestion and help grid up their food. They do not have suitable grinding teeth so they will ingest rocks and either pass them or retain them in their gizzard area. If you spot a seal, stay at least 150 feet away, that is by law, and contact MERR… 302 228 5029.
Leah Reynolds …
A yearling harp seal on the beach late this afternoon. As a volunteer for MERR, I was able to use my camera equipment to zoom in and take photographs for MERR to determine if this seal needs to be rescued. Seals are semi-aquatic, which means they spend part of their lives on land and part in the water. Seals haul out on land to rest, to get warm and dry, to molt, and to give birth. However, some seals that haul out on land are, in fact, in need of medical attention and are considered stranded. Accordingly, every time MERR receives a report of a seal on the beach, we send trained volunteers to complete a health assessment of the animal to determine whether it represents a stranding or simply a sighting of a healthy animal.
Seals typically strand due to illness or injury. Some young animals fail to thrive once they are weaned from their mothers, and older animals may die of other natural causes. Over the past ten years, 10% percent of all seal strandings were caused by human interactions (entanglements, vessel, strikes, gun shots, ingestion of marine debris, harassment, etc.)
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 was designed to conserve marine mammals and regulate human interactions with them. This law provides guidelines stating that people should maintain a distance of 150 feet from marine mammals at all times, including seals resting on shore. This regulation not only protects seals from stressful interactions with humans and their pets, but keeps people and pets safe as well. Seals can bite if provoked and may carry diseases that could be transferred to people or other animals. Be a responsible wildlife observer and use binoculars to watch the animal without disturbing its behavior.