Cape Cod loves its seals--and now sharks, too

Cape Cod revels in its shark attack. You’ll see all kinds of shark souvenirs and you can try to see one on a boat tour to see seals (what the sharks are after).

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Atlantic City seal hospital gears up for busy season

January is slow season for beach tourists, but busy for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to get calls for beached seals.

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For Pelicans and Sea Lions in LA, Go to Marina Del Rey

Grooming Pelican, Marina Del Rey

Want to see sea lions in LA? Go to Marina Del Rey, just south of Venice Beach. By a fishing dock, you’ll see plenty of pelicans and a few sea lions trying to steal a meal.

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Valdez: A Comparison for Wildlife

How does the Deepwater Horizon oil spill compare to the historical monster of Exxon Valdez, by which we judge all oil disasters? How long will this go on?

We went back to the records of Valdez to look at its size and what we might lay ahead.

In the Valdez spill Scientific American reports that 2,000 sea otters, 302 harbor seals and about 250,000 seabirds died in the first few days. So far we have only 2 birds in care that I know of. Rescuers retrieved a total of 36,471 carcasses and captured 1,630 live birds, the IBRRC reports. The Valdez spill was March 24, 1989. The last wildlife rehab center closed September 6 of that year. The Deepwater Horizon spill was on April 22, 2009. By that measure, rehabbers will be on the scene until early October. By the 10th day of the Valdez oil spill, rescuers were finding 180 oiled birds per square mile, the Coast Guard reported. The oil spread so far in Prince William Sound that rescuers had to set up four wildlife care centers. They’ve already set up three down south. There are Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. How long will it take the wildlife to recover? Here’s the really scary part. They’re still digging up oil in Valdez and some species are still recovering. Where to Go to See Wildlife Where to Go See Wildlife Down South RESCUE GROUPS International Bird Rescue Research Center, based in

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The Cute Seal Video NOAA Doesn’t Want You to See

This is just the sort of video that the folks at NOAA, who enforce the Marine Mammal Protection Act, don’t want you to see. Here’s a woman snuggling with an elephant seal, who is clearly nuzzling back. She’s off on the remote South Georgia Island (where Shackleton sought rescue), between Argentina and Antarctica.

These uninhabited island have become like little Galapagos, with animals that are now not so scared of people. (They probably were more wary when it was the base for seal-hunting and whaling operations). Wildlife officials always remind you that seals will bite.

The woman seems to follow the standard procedure for interacting with most wild animals: sit still and wait for the animal to come to you. The seal keeps sniffing her face and even climbs over her. (And, no, he didn’t have designs on her; elephant seal mating is much more violent.)

One guide near Canterbury, England, Wildlife Sailing, even offers a tour to a sandbank where you can swim with seals. “No need to swim to them they swim to us!” they say. Who knows what seals would do with human visitors if hunting them stopped completely?


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Jersey Town Illegally Pushes Tired, Lost Seal Into Wrong Body of Water

A snow plow driver found a seal wandering in Woodbridge.Photo credit: Woodbridge Township

The adult harp seal that hauled out on Sixth Avenue in Port Reading, NJ, during the blizzard was lost and just wanted to rest, says Sheila Dean, co-founder of Brigantine’s Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Instead, animal control dragged him back to where he shouldn’t have been–two miles inland, up the Woodbridge River.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act bans anybody without proper training from handling seals. Town workers used what describes as “a mouthpiece normally used to capture dogs.” I’m pretty sure what they’re talking about is a noose pole, which could hurt the seal.

The right response would have been to call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (609) 266-0538 (or, if you are in another state, another agency that’s part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network). They would have come right away to assess the seal, Dean says.

“Because this animal is so far inland, we would have taken him and released him somewhere else,” Dean says. “He’s just a little bit lost and confused and really looking for a spot to rest.”

The location is about two miles up the Woodbridge River from the Arthur Kill, the waterway that separates New Jersey from Staten Island. Trained rescuers would have driven him there (about a mile by car.) Now no one knows where he is.

After swimming all the way from the arctic they like to lay out in the sun and build up their oxygen

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Harp Seal Stuck On Cliff Near Salem, MA, Rescued

The New England Aquarium Marine Animal Rescue Team and an alert seal-loving Beverly, MA, woman saved a harp seal who got stuck in the crevice of a  cliff Monday. The 50-pound, yearling female seal got stuck between rocks 20 feet above the water by the full moon high tide. Rescuers extricated the seal, who has gray mottled fur, from the rocks, checked her out and released her into Salem Sound.The seal was first seen on the cliff Sunday by neighbor Katie Duffy. Like many people, Duffy was worried seeing a seal out of water. She called rescuers who could thought the seal was doing fine. The seal population in the U.S. seems to be on the rise, leading to seals showing up in unusual places or high numbers. Just days ago the aquarium was checking out a seal who decided to visit downtown Boston.

The next day, however, the seal has gotten herself stuck in a tiny 2-foot deep trench. Duffey again called rescuers, who came out to find the seal  “in significant distress with labored breathing,” according to the Aquarium. “They were initially not optimistic about the seal’s prospects.” Aquarium staff Adam Kennedy and Ulrika Malone threw a blanket over her. She froze in fear and they were able to push her into a crate. When they finally got to examine her, they found she was fine. She just had some scratches.So they carried her crate down to a beach. At first she was still too scared to move,

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Coney Island Marine Mammal Tour Yields Only Polar Bears

The New York City Parks Department’s first shot at a marine mammal tour from Coney Island yielded absolutely none of the hoped for seals, porpoises, dolphins or whales. But we were all shocked and delighted to see real Coney Island polar bears going into the water in bikinis on what turned out to be one of the coldest days of winter. their existence is well-documented on every cheesy local news, but I consider it a rarity to see one in person.

Our park ranger guides, Marissa and Andy, couldn’t have been more enthusiastic or knew more about what we might hope to see. They had us carefully watch a cluster of birds feeding on the surface to see if we saw any seal heads pop up. Andy told us about the loons and Brant Geese (Branta bernicla) wading by the polar bears. Marissa told us stories about dolphins she’s seen regularly patrolling east to west off the Rockaways. She told us about the time a seal hauled out on Coney Island and helpful New Yorkers dragged it back to sea–twice–before realizing it just wanted to sit on the sand.

 Wildlife watchers know there are no guarantees in this business. So several of us consoled ourselves with another Coney Island rarity: pizza. Maybe we’ll try one of the other tours to see seals around NYC.

Where to See Seals Where to See Wildlife in NYC

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NYC Starts Watching for Seals on Coney Island

Unbeknownst to New Yorkers, seals have been hanging around the harbor for ages. For the first time the Parks Department is going to try to show them off a marine mammal tour of Coney Island today. (And next week there’ll be a walk through Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx). If Parks is trying to convince New Yorkers seals are out there, it’s a risky move: you can’t be sure when they’ll show up.

But the Coney Island walk is billed as marine mammals. The most likely sighting is a porpoise, says a ranger I talked to. For seals, we could see harbor, harp, gray  or even ring seals. There’s also a chance of dolphins (common, white-sided) and whale (fin, minke or humpback). This season seals have been spotted in the Rockaways and the Bronx.

There are other, more reliable ways to see seals around New York City. Though I probably won’t be able to resist the chance to look for them someplace a subway ride away.

CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Center of Long Island) has seal walks and boat tours on Montauk and a neat map of where you might see seals around Long Island. Seals also visit Sandy Hook in New Jersey from December to March. New York City Audubon has a cruise by a bunch of island on a water taxi. SKSA does kayak tours (wet or dry-suit required) on Long Island.

Where to See Seals Where to See Wildlife in NYC

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Chinese Workers Save Ice-Blocked Harbor Seals

Animal-watching must be catching on in China. Government workers broke the ice to free 60 resident harbor seals trapped by a cold spell, then fed them fish.  Xinhuanet describes the rescuers as “workers of the scenic area.”

Even the big Chinese news agency views the animals plight with sympathy. “Poor Harbor Seals Trapped by Ice,” read the headline of their adorable slideshow.

Zinhuanet says the rescuers work at “ecological seal bay near Yantai City.” I think they’re talking about this giant tourist project, the Great Nanshan Ecological Park. Whatever the place is, they seem to realize how much people like to watch animals. Or maybe they’re just suckers for a cute, whiskered face.

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