The Marine Mammal Stranding Center not only saves marine mammals such as seals from dangerous situations at the Jersey Shore, sometimes they save the seals from ourselves.
While seal sightings are relatively uncommon, when they happen they usually draw large crowds of onlookers and for a young seal pup, that can sometimes be an unsettling and uncomfortable experience in itself.
That’s why the Marine Mammal Stranding Center sometimes helps these seals find a quieter beach to rest on once they perform their health assessment of stranded or distressed animals.
“Yesterday our Stranding Team relocated this male Grey seal pup to an unpopulated area after he was found trying to rest on a busy beach with many curious onlookers,” the MMSC said today. “The little seal was brought in to the MMSC for an assessment, and was found to be healthy, active and alert.”
The center said even though the seal was a young pup, he was more than capable of being on his own away from his mother, which worried some onlookers.
” Many people are surprised when they learn these pups are only a few months old, and have been on their own for a long time already as they make their 400+ mile marathon swim south to New Jersey,” the MMSC said. “Grey seals are born in December and January, and their mothers will only nurse their pup for about 2-3 weeks before they abandon the pup to fend for themselves. These tough little ones make their way out to sea to find food and learn life lessons on their own. Weighing in at 37lbs and in great body condition, this pup has been doing quite well for himself.”
The seal was marked with an orange #8 on his back with a non-toxic temporary livestock marker, which will fade over time. That marking is not toxic and safe for the seals. Since sharks usually attack seals from below, the marking on the top of his back will not make him any more or less attractive to the large sea predators.
“This marking will let our team know that he has already been examined if he is spotted again over the next few weeks,” the MMSC said. “Thank you to all of our supporters for helping us to always be there for the seals on our beaches.”
If you do happen to see a seal on the beach, it’s advised that you stay at least 100 feet away, don’t make loud noises, and prevent dogs from barking at the seal. If the seal looks distressed, immediately get in touch with the MMSC and they will take care of the situation. It is illegal to feed or touch the seals.