Seal strands for fourth time since August, deemed “unreleasable”

     The seal in Island Beach State Park on Aug. 20 by JSHN contributor Angela Previte, who says she was at a safe distance using a 300 mm lens.

    The seal in Island Beach State Park on Aug. 20 by JSHN contributor Angela Previte, who says she was at a safe distance using a 300 mm lens.

    A seal that dazzled beachgoers for weeks after being set free in Sandy Hook in mid-August following a period of rehabilitation has been deemed “unreleasable” after a fourth standing in early September, a marine mammal organization announced.

    “She’s baaaaack! Our little grey seal has returned!” said a Monday posting on the Facebook page of Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC), a Brigantine-based non-profit organization. 

    The female seal, who was first found in Island Beach State Park with a hook in her month and then later coughing in Sea Isle City, beached herself in Longport last Friday, according to MMSC.

    In August, MMSC told NewsWorks that the seal, about seven months old at the time and taken into for rehabilitation after the Sea Isle City stranding, could survive on her own.

    However, after her most recent stranding, the organization deemed her “unreleasable,” adding that it is working with the National Marine Fisheries to find a permanent home for the marine mammal. 

    During the past week, people were getting to close to the seal, causing her undue stress, according to MMSC’s Sheila Dean.

    “This grey seal is just too friendly for her own good. She was allowing children to pet her and taking food from people. She does have some powerful jaws, and we wouldn’t want to see anyone hurt. She has had a history of being too friendly, which we thought she had been broken of before we let her go the third time,” Dean said.

    “Sadly, it’s time to bring her into captivity. We’ll find a good home for her where they can accommodate her species, which can grow to be 800 lbs,” she added. 

    MMSC urges the public to avoid approaching marine mammals. 

    “Please remember that if you see a stranded or injured marine mammal, it is a federal offense to get within 50 feet of the animal. Please stay away from the animal and notify the MMSC right away,” an organization representative advised.

    MMSC will celebrate 36 years of of marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, and release during its 3rd annual “Dancing With Dolphins” gala on Sunday, Oct. 5 from 7 p.m until 11 p.m at One Atlantic (Pier Shops at Caesars) in Atlantic City. For information, visit mmsc.org or call (609) 266-0539.

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