Posted by Sandi
Yesterday my husband Bob attended his annual Marine Mammal Stranding Network (MMSN) refresher course on Orcas Island. Bob is part of a group of volunteers in San Juan County that respond to reports of live and dead marine mammals. I am much too sensitive for this task. ;o
During pupping season, many seal pups are left on the beach temporarily while mom hunts for food. Others, though, are abandoned or injured. The pup in this photo was found dehydrated on a beach in Doe Bay. He was transported to Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island, treated, and later released. He was only helped because there were dogs roaming on the beach, otherwise he would’ve been left alone for nature to to take its course. According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, volunteers can only interfere when there is an injury or threat by a human or domestic animal.
If you see a stranded marine mammal, don’t go near it — they carry diseases! Call the MMSN Hotline at 800-562-8832 or send an email to: email@example.com. Dead animals should be reported too because they provide scientific insight when necropsied at the University of Washington labs in Friday Harbor.
MMSN is a program of The Whale Museum, and on Orcas it’s managed by the SeaDoc Society. This is just one of many ways you can get involved in protecting our rich marine ecosystem in the San Juan Islands.
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