‘Leave the seals alone’

Group wants Is­lan­ders to be on look­out for dead or dis­tressed marine an­i­mals

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - GREEN LIVING -

Win­ter’s ar­rival means that the whales and dol­phins in­hab­it­ing Mar­itime wa­ters have de­parted for the sunny south.

How­ever, over the past cou­ple of sum­mers, there have been a num­ber of marine an­i­mal in­ci­dents in P.E.I., in­clud­ing a live mass strand­ing of long-finned pi­lot whales and a num­ber of dead minke whales, At­lantic white-sided dol­phins and har­bour por­poises wash­ing ashore.

The Marine An­i­mal Re­sponse So­ci­ety (MARS), which works in co-or­di­na­tion with the At­lantic Ve­teri­nary Col­lege, the pro­vin­cial fish­eries depart­ment and the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, wants to re­ceive re­ports of dis­tressed or dead marine an­i­mals. Re­port­ing such events will en­sure a timely re­sponse with the chance of sav­ing an­i­mals in the case of live strand­ings. While re­ports of dead an­i­mals is an op­por­tu­nity to col­lect valu­able sci­en­tific in­for­ma­tion and mon­i­tor the im­pact hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties has on th­ese species.

Win­ter also means that grey seal pup­ping sea­son is about to start. As a re­sult, Is­lan­ders may see more seals on P.E.I.’s shore­lines and on sea ice. The pups need to spend a large por­tion of their day rest­ing on­shore and should not be dis­turbed or forced back into the wa­ter. How­ever, pups that get sep­a­rated from their moth­ers may be mal­nour­ished.

This past

year, MARS

was awarded a grant from the P.E.I. Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Fund. This pro­ject is aimed at in­creas­ing the re­sponse ca­pa­bil­ity to marine an­i­mal in­ci­dents in P.E.I.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Marine An­i­mal Re­sponse So­ci­ety is ask­ing that Is­lan­ders not dis­turb any seal pups they may no­tice rest­ing on Is­land shores this win­ter. The so­ci­ety also asks Is­lan­ders to re­port any dis­tressed or dead marine an­i­mals they come upon by call­ing 1-866-567-6277.

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