Stranded Seal Saved
According to Riverhead Foundation President Charles Bowman, the young, gray pup was picked up early this morning and is doing just fine.
Based on the videos and photos of the seal sent in to Riverhead, the volunteer team decided to monitor the animal for 24 hours.
“While it does have a couple of small wounds, the seal is alert and exhibiting normal behaviors,” an update on the Riverhead Facebook, posted last night at around 11 p.m., reads. “If the seal is still in the area in the morning our Rescue Team will respond to reassess the animal’s condition.”
Bowman confirmed that the male seal pup was doing what came naturally to him; however, the crowd of people surrounding him was an added stress.
“They generally haul out in order to rest on the beach and that’s normal behavior, especially when they’re young,” said Bowman. “Many times when we arrive on scene, the seals are just doing their normal seal things. But certainly the crowding around does more harm than good. They’re wild animals and they get stressed. They need space.”
Bowman stressed that large crowds can even be fatal for marine mammals.
“The crowding around and some people even pouring water on him, that kind of stress can actually kill the animal,” Bowman said.
Now, with the seal pup in the rescuers hands, Bowman said they are going to “access its health and give it some peace and quiet. And, if everything looks good and is certified by our vets, we’ll release him back into the Atlantic.”
With the Riverhead Foundation being a non-for-profit organization – covering a large area that spans Montauk and New York City – Bowman said that immediate responses to every stranding are difficult.
“We only have a few people and a couple of trucks, so people do have to be patient,” he said.
In the event of an animal stranding near you, call the NYS Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829. Bystanders should keep a safe distance from the animal and inform others to do the same.
If you would like to learn more about the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, or join their team, visit www.riverheadfoundation.org.