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Young Harbor Seal Receives Second Chance at Life After Entanglement

Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Program Talks Trash After Seal Release

Mystic, Conn. (August 9, 2016) – Trash, pollution, litter, debris; while it’s known by many names, the everlasting effects of its presence on our planet continues to threaten the health of our oceans and its inhabitants. Copper,  an approximately 1 year old male harbor seal, was released today in Narragansett, RI, is a stark example of the realities of the harmful effects of marine debris.

But, thanks to the efforts of Marine Mammals of Maine (MMoMe) and Mystic Aquarium, Copper has a new lease on life.

On March 25 after being rescued in Southport, ME, by MMoMe, a dehydrated Copper arrived at Mystic Aquarium with severe entanglement wounds around his neck. Weighing a mere 48 pounds upon admittance, Copper received dedicated and specialized care from the staff and volunteers of the Animal Rescue Program.

After four months of intense medical care and rehabilitation, Copper received a second chance at life – free from marine debris. Weighing more than 84 pounds and completely recovered, Copper’s return to the ocean was welcomed by Aquarium staff and witnessed by a small group community supporters.

“’We hope his story will leave an enormous and everlasting impact on everyone involved,” said Sarah Callan, Assistant Coordinator at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic. “We hope that when people learn about Copper they will think twice before carelessly discarding trash and think first of picking up trash on shorelines everywhere.”

According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than 200 species worldwide are impacted by entanglement. Seals will become wrapped in discarded fishing lines, turtles will suffocate after swallowing balloons, whales will ingest plastic bags, bottles, fishing hooks, and other debris that floats from our shores to their environments. Marine debris will continue to detrimentally influence the lives of marine animals.

“It is up to concerned individuals like you and me and organizations like ours to make waves and enforce change in this trend,” added Callan.

Small actions can make a huge difference in the ecology of our oceans. Limiting individual production of debris on land and at sea by recovering fishing lines, nets, or traps will help reduce animal entanglements. Joining a local beach clean-up will help reduce the amount of debris that makes its way into the ocean environment. Volunteering with organizations like Mystic Aquarium that adamantly work towards the conservation and preservation of our ocean planet will help increase awareness and action.

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