Stranded seal pup rescued after being spotted by US Coast Guard on New Jersey beach

(ABC News) -- A seal pup has been re-released into the wild after the U.S. Coast Guard found it stranded on a New Jersey beach over the weekend.
 
On Saturday, the U.S Coast Guard station in Cape May received a phone call from a citizen concerned for the seal, who was on the beach alone, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Seth Johnson told ABC News. After investigating, the Coast Guard called the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which took custody of the pup, Johnson said.
 
Once the gray seal was examined, caretakers from the center determined that there was "nothing wrong with it," and the 2-month-old pup was released back into ocean, said Bob Schoelkopf, founder and director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. The center only picked up the animal so it wasn't exposed to the traffic caused by construction on the beach over the weekend, Schoelkopf added.
 
The center responded to seven calls regarding seals over the weekend, almost all of them involving pups, Schoelkopf said. The increase of lone seals pups in the area is due to a birthing tide about a month or two ago, he said. The seals are heading south from Maine and Massachusetts in search of food and warm weather.
 
One of the seals taken to the center had been hit by a boat propeller, Schoelkopf said. As a result, a veterinarian had to amputate the seal's rear flipper.
 
Just because a seal is spotted alone doesn't mean anything is wrong with it, Schoelkopf, adding that the mothers leave them on their own after 10 days of nursing. But he advised people who come in contact with a seal to notify animal experts immediately.
 
The U.S. Coast Guard often works in conjunction with animal rescue groups, helping them to save stranded animals or transport them back into the ocean, Johnson said. Last month, the U.S. Coast Guard helped release a beached dolphin back into the ocean off Cape May, he said.
 
"One of the Coast Guard's primary missions is stewardship of the marine environment," Johnson said. "Anytime we can help stranded animals, we help would where we can."
 

© 2018 ABC News


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