Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network

Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network

March 09, 2010 14:44 ET

Seal Pups Stranded on Beaches: Public Collaboration is Needed

TADOUSSAC, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 9, 2010) - The Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network expects there will be more incidents involving seal pups stranded on beaches in the next few weeks. Poor ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence make it difficult for hooded and harp seal pups, normally born and nursed on the ice pack. This could mean very high mortality rates for seal pups born this winter.

Already, a few cases have been reported to the Network: a hooded seal pup, also known as "blue back", was sighted on a beach near Sept-Îles, and harp seal pups, the famous "whitecoats", have been reported on beaches in Gaspésie and on the Lower-North-Shore. Not weaned yet and prematurely separated from their mothers, their chances of survival are limited.

Since it is a natural event and since those populations are considered not at risk of extinction, experts recommend letting nature takes its course. Efforts will be directed at ensuring humans do not make things worse. Specifically, the Network asks the public to:

  1. Report stranded seal pups at 1-877-722-5346.
  2. Keep your distance, keep dogs on leashes and avoid crowding the seal pups.
  3. Remember it is illegal to touch, feed, refloat or kill a marine mammal, unless you have a permit.

The Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network is made up of 15 private and governmental organisations. Its mandate is to organize, co-ordinate and implement measures to reduce the accidental death of marine mammals, come to the assistance of animals in trouble and acquire data concerning dead animals in the waters of the St. Lawrence bordering the province of Quebec.

The Network also counts on shore dwellers and those navigating the waters of the St. Lawrence to promptly report all cases of marine mammals (whales and seals) that are either in trouble or dead by dialling 11-877-722-5346. Thank you for your precious collaboration!

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