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NOAA Statement: Seal Pup on Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Jennifer  Goebel (NOAA)
(978) 281-9175
(978) 290-0203 (Cell)
June 4, 2016

NOAA has been notified about the harbor seal pup on the Old Orchard Beach in Maine. We have been in touch with Marine Mammals of Maine and our Greater Atlantic Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network partners. Unfortunately, at this time, our entire regional network is filled to capacity with seal pups, and we are not able to collect it for rehabilitation.

Marine Mammals of Maine operates a triage and holding center to hold pups for up to 96 hours before they are transferred to a rehabilitation facility. Right now, there are no spots open for transfer.

If our network collected it at this point, we would have to euthanize it.

The best chance for this seal pup is for people to leave it alone and keep at least 150 feet away. It’s a busy weekend on Old Orchard Beach, and right now, we suspect that the mother is too scared to return for her pup. We believe this abandonment is likely to due to too much human activity near the pup, and remind the public that the best thing they can do for the pup is stay away from it.

Marine Mammals of Maine is monitoring the pup regularly, and will be keeping a close eye on its activity. Right now, it seems healthy and active. Marine Mammals of Maine does a fantastic job of balancing between the rehab space that is available and determining which pups are most critically in need of help. 

If any of our stranding network partners is able to open up a space for this pup, they will notify Marine Mammals of Maine immediately, and Marine Mammals of Maine will collect the seal.

We want to thank all of our network partners for the amazing work they do in responding to stranded animals all year long, and especially during pupping season. We appreciate the outpouring of concern from the public. We all wish we could save every one.