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Riverhead Foundation Documents First Harp Seal of the Season

Yearling seal was found on the beach in Montauk, and turned out not to be in distress.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation reported its first harp seal sighting of the season, and it was in Montauk.

A beach walker called the foundation's 24-hour hotline on Friday. The seal turned out to be a yearling, about 3.5 feet long.

After assessing its behavior and overall body condition, the foundation decided to leave the seal on the beach for further monitoring, as no signs of distress were seen.

On its Facebook page, the foundation said: "Harp seals are known to stay on the beach for multiple days in a row and they often 'play possum' when approached by people. Playing 'dead' is their defense mechanism and should not be misinterpreted as the animal being friendly or docile."

The foundation asked that if you spot a seal on the beach, call the foundation's 24-hours hotline at 631-369-9829, and do not disturb it. Keep a safe distance.

Steve January 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM
A good place to view the seals is the northeast side of Gardner's island. they seem to like the rocks and use the rip currents between the ruins to easily catch flounder and other fish. They are curious about boats but don't like motors. if you shut the power down they will eventually come investigate if you are patient enough. very smart and stealthy little critters.
kathleen kelly lepore January 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM
great true comment steve.
Lady L January 21, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Please don't blame sport and commercial fishermen for the dearth of flounder and fluke when it is the over-abundance of seals, cormorants, bluefish and striped bass, all four with voracious appetites and protected by government. Seals eat 10% of their weight in fish a day, and I've watched a cormorant eat 20+ small fish in an hour, times that by the hundreds of nesting cormorants, add to that the other predators, no surprise the fishing stocks are being depleted.

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