Posted on 27/01/2015 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Entangled seals rescued at Seal Rocks

Three Australian fur seals entangled in rubbish at Seal Rocks have been rescued by staff from Phillip Island Nature Parks during a January trip to the colony. 

The rescue operation was part of a research trip to the local colony to collect scats for a diet study, remove entanglements where possible and count seal pups and birds. Green trawl net, a plastic bag and monofilament line were removed from the affected seals.

“The entanglements highlight the impact of marine debris on wildlife and the importance of disposing of rubbish responsibly, particularly fishing net and line,” said Dr McIntosh, seal researcher at the Nature Parks.

“Rescuing seals is an enormously difficult task and it’s a problem best tackled by ensuring these materials don’t find their way into the marine environment in the first place.”

Staff aboard the Nature Parks’ new EcoBoat Tours and from Wildlife Coast Cruises assist the researchers by reporting the entangled seals and educating passengers about the effects of marine debris.

Nature Parks’ researchers and rangers rescue on average 20 entangled fur seals per year. Trawl net, fishing line, balloon string, plastic bags and even hats are some of the more common materials causing entanglements. Seal pups are the most susceptible given their propensity to play with objects in the water.

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Fishing line around the neck of an Australian fur seal.