Gray seal washes ashore at Southold beach

03/17/2013 2:51 PM |
COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

A local marine non-profit group is investigating a dead adult seal that was found washed ashore in Southold earlier this weekend.

The female gray seal that was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning, said Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation director Robert DiGiovanni

The adult seal, which was about six and a half feet long, appeared to be underweight, he said. The Riverhead Foundation will conduct a necropsy in the next few days to try to determine the animal’s cause of death, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

It was once rare to find adult seals washing ashore on Long Island and most of the specimens found were young seals called “yearlings,” Mr. DiGiovanni said.

“We don’t get many adults washing up but we have been getting more over the years,” he said, adding that adults were washing ashore at numerous locations.

Mr. DiGiovanni believes a boom in the seal population is why the group has seen more adult seals bodies on shore lately.

“Their population is growing, it is expanding, and so we’re starting to see adults in areas where once we had only seen yearlings,” he said. “It’s just part of their population structure.”

In addition to conducting a necropsy of the latest seal to wash ashore, the Riverhead Foundation is also rehabilitating more than two dozen animals rescued from the area, including a harbor porpoise, seven seals and nearly 20 sea turtles, he said.

psquire@timesreview.com

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