Caring for Stranded Marine Animals
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Seal entangled by fishing gear rescued from Cape Cod Canal

Wicked Local
April 26, 2021
Atlas still has a long way to go in his rehabilitation, but his prognosis is hopeful.

BUZZARDS BAY – Recently, a seal was seen on the rocks along the Cape Cod Canal with fishing gear around his neck and flippers.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, one of the organizations authorized to rescue animals, responded. The rescue was difficult because of the animal’s location, but IFAW was able to retrieve him by boat and brought him to the National Marine Life Center for rehabilitation.

Upon examination by the staff and veterinarian at NMLC, it was found that Atlas (named after the Greek God and bearer of the heavens) had more problems than just the entanglement. 

While his neck and flippers were restricted from fishing gear and netting, he was also infested with lung worms and had an ear infection.

According to Lisa Becker, director of Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation at NMLC, “Atlas has a number of health issues that he is dealing with. He was immune-compromised, burdened further by the entanglement. If he had not been rescued, he most likely would not have survived.”

Atlas still has a long way to go in his rehabilitation, but his prognosis is hopeful. “His ear infection and the parasites make him a very sick animal, but he is progressing well,” Becker stated.

NMLC’s mission is to rehabilitate sick and injured seals and sea turtles.  While seals are not endangered, they are protected, and their survival is critical to the marine ecosystem.

Becker added that we are in the season of harbor seal pup strandings, and reminds the public that it is illegal to go within 150 feet of a seal on the beach. If anyone sees a seal pup that they feel may have been abandoned, they are advised to call the local animal care authorities or rescue organizations.