A Jersey Shore marine mammal organization released today six seals at Sandy Hook.
Sheila Dean of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) posted on the organization’s Facebook page last week that six of their “little darlin’ seals” were scheduled to “head out to sea.”
April Schelling Photography was on the scene and snapped the photos in the gallery above.
[WATCH: Marine Mammal Stranding Center Releases Six Seals Back into the Ocean]
MMSC, founded in 1978 and based in Brigantine, is the 911 for marine animals in N.J, NewsWorks’ Elisabeth Perez-Luna reported in July 2014.
“Basically yes,” says Bob Shoelkopf, who founded MMSC with Dean, his wife. “We are the only one in the state of N.J. that will respond on a 24-hour basis. We are on call. We handle 1,800 miles of coastline in New Jersey – that’s both ocean side and the back bay – and when we get a call we respond to sick, injured and dead animals.”
When the call comes, Schoelkopf dispatches a van to the location and two technicians bring the stranded animal back to one of the center’s 26 holding tanks for feeding and recuperation. From his office Shoelkopf, or one of his assistants, can watch the “patients” so to speak, as they progress. One video camera per tank.
Each year, young seals begin arriving at the Jersey Shore in February, and this year was no different.
“These youngsters have just finished a marathon swim from New England, and they need to rest up before heading back to sea,” a Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) spokesperson said in a statement earlier this year. “They don’t need any attention, food, or blankets.”
The Brigantine-based MMSC requests that the public stay 50 yards away from the seals, which look cute but will deliver a sharp bite if scared.
A young seal released at Sandy Hook in August 2014 and then cruised along the Jersey Shore, dazzling beachgoers and became a celebrity of sorts. The seal now resides at the Detroit Zoo.
Anyone who spots a seal should call MMSC at 609-266-0538.
MMSC relies on donations. You can support the organization here.
NewsWorks’ Elisabeth Perez-Luna contributed to this report.