Marine Mammals of Maine rehabilitates and releases its first two harbor seals

Release set for 4 p.m. Oct. 8 in Phippsburg
Oct 07, 2017

Harpswell — Marine Mammals of Maine announces its first release of two young harbor seals, will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at Head Beach in Phippsburg, rain or shine. This is a private beach with limited parking; officials ask that the public respect the area.

After the sudden closure of University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center in 2014, MMoME had nowhere to take critical animals within the state of Maine. Last year, MMoME opened a marine mammal triage center, the first of its kind on the East Coast. This hospital stabilizes and treats critical seals before they make the 150-mile trip out of state to long-term rehabilitation centers. This facility increased the success rate of rescued seals by almost 80 percent in 2016.

"However, there is still a significant reduction in marine mammal rehabilitation capacity in the Northeast Region," the organization said in a press release. In 2017, MMoME took the next steps and was granted temporary authorization by NOAA to provide long-term rehabilitation for the two seals to be released. One was rescued July 9 from Old Orchard Beach, and the other July 11 from Higgins Beach in Scarborough.

“We feel fortune to have had so much public, private and volunteer support behind us since the UNE closure, which has undoubtedly led to how far we’ve come in so little time," said Lynda Ada Doughty, MMoME executive director. "MMoME is excited to be releasing our first rehab patients, and is committed to continuing forward helping Maine’s marine mammals.”

MMoME is a nonprofit organization dedicated to marine mammal and sea turtle response, rescue, care, research and education. As sentinels of ocean health, marine mammals represent an important Maine resource that can garner public attention for conservation, and shed light on marine ecosystem health. the MMoME mission further includes extensive education and outreach to Maine’s youth, coastal communities and tourists while promoting marine conservation and inspiring marine stewardship.

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