Marine animals are very resilient. In an unforgiving world where the elements are often life-threatening and predators ever present, they have to be. Usually they can manage quite well on their own, but not always. There are times when you can help sick marine animals.
Remember the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that covered thousands of marine animals and seabirds in oil. The patient efforts of professionals and volunteers saved thousands of animals.
It’s 5 AM And There’s a Seal Pup in the Middle of the Road!
Fortunately, for our marine friends there are people like Rosemary Seton of Bar Harbor, Maine that are always on call to help. Last spring the local police called Seton in the early morning. asking for help, because “they had a seal pup in the middle of the road.” Somehow the baby seal had waddled off the beach onto the highway. What to do? Call Rosemary! She’s on speed dial for sick or lost seals because she is a trained first-responder. Her job is to save ocean wildlife. See the full report in EcoWatch. (photo – yahoo news)
Lucky seal pup. Rosemary knew exactly what to do. She moved the pup off the road and wrapped a towel around the animal, remembering to carefully fold in its fins. She drove the pup to the medical facility for Marine Mammals of Maine three hours away in Bath for treatment. If necessary, the animals treated here are moved to a center for rehabilitation.
How to Report Marine Mammal Strandings!
Rosemary and other first responders rely on the public to help them do their jobs. They suggest that if you find an ill animal, you grab your phone and contact authorities. Use the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association website to direct you to the nearest, proper organization.
If the nearest facility cannot pick the animal up, they can give you instructions on how to bring the animal to them. For example, toss a shirt or towel over a sea bird to avoid injury from bill or claws. If you find something larger like a beached whale, dolphin or sea lion, don’t get too close. Even if you are trying to help, it’s against the law to mess with these animals. Instead, call a stranding center. NOAA has a network of centers across the United States. Their telephone numbers are here.
In 2016, this network responded to over 2,500 strandings. Rosemary Seton and her lab are part of this network. They get about 130 calls annually regarding beached marine mammals along the New England coast. Local police, animal control centers, fire departments and the coast guard fill in when needed. (photo – Rufus a premature seal pup rescued in Maine in 2005, Allied Whale Marine Mammal Research Lab).
As far as the pup in the road, after watchful care at the National Marine Life Center in Massachusetts, it was returned to the sea last October. As Seton says, if you know who to call when “you see a seal, instead of feeling helpless, you’ve got some tools in your toolkit.”
A huge thanks from all of us to those workers and volunteers who tirelessly help give marine animals a second chance.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean.net
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