Thursday, September 12, 2002

Lifeline busy with seal release

Published in the Current

The Marine Animal Lifeline released three seals on the morning of Sept. 5, including one, named Chance, that had been found with a gunshot wound in her head on Pine Point Beach July 2.

The release, in Cape Elizabeth’s Dyer Cove, was successful, with all three animals heading out to sea.

Two of the seals had lived in the wild for a long time, and headed quickly back to their natural habitat.

The third, rescued by the Lifeline when only a day old, took longer to get used to the surf and salt water, changes from its tank at the Lifeline’s rehabilitation center.

Immediately following the release, Lifeline President Greg Jakush and several volunteers drove to Hannaford Cove to check out a report of a dead turtle on the beach.

The turtle was located and was “very dead,” Jakush said. The Lifeline had been receiving reports of the dead turtle floating along the coast for a couple of weeks. The first sighting was in Damariscotta.

Also on the beach at Hannaford Cove was a dead adult seal, part of a recent surge in dead seal reports to the Lifeline. Jakush said the increase is natural and is not cause for alarm. He said recent high tides and odd currents are washing seal carcasses off ledges further out to sea, where they die of natural causes.

None of the seals so far, he said, were rescued and released by the Lifeline.

Jakush said he also received a report recently of a former Lifeline patient “frolicking and playing” in the Cape Cod Channel in Massachusetts.

“He made a heck of a j o u r n e y,” Jakush said.

People who find stranded or injured marine animals should call the Marine Animal Lifeline’s 24-hour hotline at 851-6625.