Seals Taking Over NJ Beaches
If you're planning a trip down to the Jersey shore anytime soon, plan to see some unfamiliar faces! And no...we're not talking about the AC tourists. According to NJ.com, calls have been pouring in from every town along the 1,800 miles of coastline in New Jersey. Seals are showing up on the beaches at rates that have officials, like the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, taking to social media to warn beach-goers to stay clear.
Center Director Bob Schoelkopf said they're currently at maximum capacity with 15 gray seal pups at its Brigantine-based headquarters. Apparently, February and March are "pupping season," when young seals get turned loose by their mothers and are left to fend for themselves. In which case some seals, he says, are slightly undernourished and in need of care before being released.
One of these seal pups was found March 26 in Manasquan with shark bites on it's stomach... so that's a whole other story.
Schoelkopf says that seals feed on the smaller fish that migrate north along the coast for the summer. And after they're done feeding, the seals hop on the beaches to bask in the sun to sleep and replenish the oxygen level in their blood. However, the problem is that as the weather gets warmer, more people flock to the beaches and encounter the seals!
Officials are warning beachgoers to stay at least 50 yards from the seals. So for all my social media bugs out there...avoid trying to take selfies! For one, Schoelkopf said, it's against federal regulations to touch the animals. And they bite.
Anyone who sees a seal on the beach is urged to call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center at 609-266-0538.
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