Several injured seals have been rescued and are recovering at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in South Jersey, authorities said.
A stranded harbor seal with a gaping bloody wound under his left front flipper and an open injury on the same flipper was found on the beach in Strathmere in Cape May County on Feb. 4.
“Our veterinarian was able to surgically remove the affected digit, preserving the use of his front flipper,” according to a Facebook post by the center in Brigantine. “His wounds are healing very well, and he is now eating on his own and gaining weight.”
Injuries to seals can include bites from sharks or even wounds caused by falling on a rough rocky surface like a jetty, officials said.
In Monmouth County, a grey seal pup with puncture wounds to her left front flipper was found stranded at Belmar on Feb. 11. She was nearly two months old and very underweight at about 32 pounds. Her wounds were likely caused by seagulls, an official said. She’s now eating on her own and will stay at the center until she gains more weight.
The center also said on Facebook that if you are lucky enough to spot seals along our shore this winter, please make sure to enjoy them from a distance, keeping people and pets at least 150 feet away.
They may wave their flippers as if to say hello, but that is actually a warning to stay away, officials said.
Seals haul out to get much-needed rest, and crowds can stress them out, causing the seals to return to the water before they are ready.
If you are concerned about a seal, you are urged to call the stranding center's 24 hour hotline at 609-266-0538.
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