RYE — The Marine Mammal Rescue Team is busy. There have been 16 responses so far this year, the most recent Tuesday when an emaciated week-old seal pup was taken from Star Island at the Isle of Shoals.
The young seal is roughly a week old and still a dependent pup. Now dubbed Rose, the pup is at the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, Mass.
She only weighed about 11 pounds when rescue coordinator Ashley Stokes and a volunteer rescued her.
“It’s hard to say why this one was abandoned,” Stokes said yesterday. “There’s a lot of construction on Star Island and it could be as simple as noise. It’s not always human interaction.”
But it was human and canine interaction in late April that led to another pup rescue in Seabrook.
That newborn pup, a male, was abandoned by its mother because people and dogs got too close, Stokes said.
Seals only stay with their mothers for about three weeks, just long enough to learn to catch and eat whole fish. But during those three weeks, mothers will often leave their pups on the beach while they go out to hunt for food.
It’s critical, Stokes said, that people steer well clear of the animals — or the helpless pups may end up abandoned, unable to live on their own.
“If the mother sees humans or dogs around her pup, she’s not going to come back because she sees us as a threat,” Stokes said. “That’s often why moms and pups become separated.”
That young male, now named Belmont, was taken to Buzzards Bay, too.
He’s doing well and has just learned to eat whole fish, Stokes said. He could be released in another month or two.
The next few days will be critical ones for Rose, but Stokes said she thinks the young seal will make it.