Seals | New Hampshire Public Radio

Seals

Rye Police

Rescuers in Rye safely moved a young seal that made its way onto Route 1A during a high tide Friday morning.

Marine mammal rescuers at the Seacoast Science Center helped get the gray seal pup out of harm’s way near Rye Harbor while local police directed traffic around him.

Rescuers say they've seen this weanling a couple times in the past few days, at beaches in Hampton. He's thought to be about six weeks old and still figuring out life away from his mother.

NOAA Fisheries/Kimberly Murray, NEFSC

 

The federal government is reminding New Englanders that attempting to take a selfie with a seal or a seal pup is a very bad idea.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledges that seal pups are adorable, but also says "the best thing you can do for them is to keep your distance." It says people and pets should stay at least 150 feet away from seals.

Virginia State Parks via NOAA

Scientists have narrowed down the top likely cause of more than 1,400 seal deaths across New England in recent months.

But they say the "unusual mortality event" appears to be ending as cold weather sets in.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the main pathogen found in the stranded seals was phocine distemper virus.

It commonly affects seals and could affect pets, but can't be transferred to humans.

Seal
Richard Towell / Flickr Creative Commons

On a Tuesday morning in summer, 2017, Chris Martin boarded the John B. Heiser, a 33-foot research vessel,  headed for Duck Island. Mission: to count seals.

NOAA

 

Researchers say an outbreak of distemper is to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that the main pathogen found in the seals is phocine distemper virus. The agency said avian flu also was suspected based on early results but new test results do not point to it as a major cause.

In late August, NOAA declared the seal deaths to be an "unusual mortality event."

NOAA

 

Avian flu and distemper may be to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Southern Maine beaches have been beset with dead harbor seals in recent weeks, with dozens washing up stranded or having perished. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Thursday that the first batch of sampled seals have tested preliminarily positive for either avian influenza or phocine distemper virus.

Four seals have tested positive for both viruses.

National Marine Life Center

A young harp seal who spent a month recuperating after getting stranded on Hampton Beach will be released on Sunday.

It’s only the second time the Seacoast Science Center has helped release a seal in New Hampshire waters.

The year-old seal is named Merrimack, or Mack for short. He was found on Hampton Beach on Valentine's Day.

Seacoast Science Center marketing director Karen Provazza says Mack was alert and chatty, but also seemed sick and confused.

Harp seals are born on ice in Canada and like to eat snow, but Mack was eating sand off the beach. 

Seal
Richard Towell / Flickr Creative Commons

On a Tuesday morning last summer, Chris Martin boarded the John B. Heiser, a 33-foot research vessel,  headed for Duck Island. Mission: to count seals.

Courtesy photo

It’s been a busy summer for the Seacoast Science Center’s marine mammal rescue team.

There’s been a surge of late in the number of beached seals in need of rescue along New Hampshire’s coast.

Ashley Stokes manages the marine mammal rescue team, and she joined NHPR's Morning Edition.

Talk about what these past few weeks have been like for your team. What are you seeing?