Seal Season Ups the Pressure on Local Stranding Center
This is the time of year when injured or sick seals start showing up in New Jersey waters and on our beaches. It’s also when the Marine Mammal Stranding Center comes in to save the day. However, this year, the nonprofit needs a rescue of its own, financially.
While the Brigantine facility is grateful for tens of thousands of dollars in donations from fundraisers and other sources, it’s still about $30,000 in the hole due to repairs needed on a pool that’s devoted to the recovery of seals.
“The main foundation cracked, and the pool is settling into the ground, and we’re trying to get that rectified,” said Bob Schoelkopf, the center’s founding director.
The in-ground, fiberglass pool houses seals who are in the rehab process before they’re released back into the sea.
According to its website, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has handled approximately 160 sea creatures so far this year, from loggerhead turtles to bottlenose dolphins.
“We have a 90 percent recovery rate on seals,” Schoelkopf said.
Stranded seals are seen the most in New Jersey between November and May when our waters are the coldest.
Schoelkopf pointed to a beached seal sighting in Seaside Heights earlier this week. A young seal with a minor abrasion on its shoulder, he said, was attempting to get some rest. A volunteer was sent to the scene to make sure the public didn’t interfere with the situation.