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Riverhead Foundation: Harbor seal rescued from netting

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation rescued a male harbor seal that was found to be entangled in gill netting and rope on Monday, March 21, 2016. The seal was discovered by the Hempstead Town bay constable in Crow Island Lead, east of the Meadowbrook State Parkway. Photo Credit: Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation

A male harbor seal is recovering after a Hempstead Town bay constable found the animal tangled in gill netting and rope.

The constable spotted the seal on Monday in Crow Island Lead, east of the Meadowbrook State Parkway and north of Jones Beach, and called the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation’s hotline, organization officials said.

A biologist and foundation volunteer went to the scene and brought the seal to the Riverhead facility, where the netting and rope were removed. Officials said the seal had only minor, superficial injuries.

Harbor seals are common around Long Island this time of year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Male seals can grow 5 to 5 1⁄2 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds. During low tides, they bask on beaches and rocks within estuaries, bays and rivers.

The foundation currently has 10 seals and 11 sea turtles in its care.

Foundation officials said entanglement is human-caused and preventable. The foundation has been leading a cleanup campaign called Pick It Up! that has removed hundreds of pounds of garbage from Long Island beaches, the group said.

People who find stranded marine animals should remain at least 150 feet away and call the foundation at 631-369-9829.

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