Friday, February 27, 2009

Helping Save Marine Mammals

Mom's turtle buddy Carole spent a day this week babysitting this baby harp seal on a beach in New Jersey. Carole is a marine mammal stranding volunteer and when she received a call that there was a stranding, she headed straight for the beach to do whatever she could to help save it.

Carole is a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) which is based in Brigantine, New Jersey. Staff and volunteers work to ensure that animals that are stranded are either helped back into the water or are taken to the Center for rehabilitation. As a non-profit organization, the Center has relied on donations from concerned citizens all over the country since its inception in 1978.

Seals are not the only animals that wash ashore on the beaches of New Jersey. The Center has responded to strandings of a 25-ton humpback whale and as well as many species of sea turtles. The number of strandings has increased through the years as ocean going animals face added threats on a daily basis. According to their website, the Center has seen an increase in species of seals and sea turtles that are far out of their range strand in New Jersey. This is bad news for my little ocean buddies.

The baby harp seal that Carole took care of was a young male who weighed in at almost 60 pounds. The little guy ended up going back into the water around 6pm and it is thought that he was okay and simply wanted to rest. A happy ending indeed thanks to Carole and the staff at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center!

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