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Why did the seal cross the road? WDC responds to a grey seal near Gurnet Point in Plymouth, MA

Grey seal is released from the kennel on the ocean side of Duxbury Beach
Grey seal is released from the kennel on the ocean side of Duxbury Beach

For Immediate Release, March 9, 2023


A young grey seal was found in the road of Duxbury Beach Reservation near Gurnet Point on Saturday, March 4th.  

The seal was reported to Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Marine Animal Rescue and Response (MARR) and hotline by Duxbury Beach Operations just before 9 AM. 

They reported that the seal had come ashore on the bay side of Duxbury Beach before stopping to rest in the middle of the Saquish access road.   

Concerned about the seal’s risk of being struck by a passing vehicle, WDC’s MARR team headed out to Duxbury Beach and followed Duxbury Beach Operations to the location of the seal. Upon WDC’s arrival, the team discovered that the seal had returned to the bay. Shortly after, while WDC was monitoring its behavior, the seal yet again made its way out of the water, up the beach, and into the middle of the road.  

Unlike whales and dolphins, seals spend time in both the water and on land. They go out to sea to find food and come in to the beach to rest.  Grey seals, like this one, “wean” or become independent from their mother 2-3 weeks after birth. Much like all young animals, juvenile seals are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors and explore unexpected areas. 

The MARR team conducted a visual assessment and determined this seal was alert and had no obvious signs of injury. For the safety of this seal and for anyone driving this road, the decision was made to relocate the seal a short distance over the dunes to the ocean side of Duxbury Beach. Due to the high tide, moving the seal to the ocean side would provide them with more space to rest until they were ready to return to the water on their own.  

WDC’s MARR team encouraged the seal into a kennel using specialized herding boards to minimize handling of the animal, therefore reducing stress. The kennel was carried over the dunes, where it was opened, allowing the seal to make an exuberant move to the surf and swim away.  

“We are so grateful to Duxbury Beach Operations for reporting and monitoring this seal until we were able to get on sight” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDC Executive Director. “We had the best possible outcome in this case because they called our hotline, provided images and updates, and stood by until help arrived.”  

If you see a dolphin, whale, porpoise, or seal in distress from Weymouth through Plymouth, please call WDC’s hotline at (617) 688-6872.

High resolution images available HEREWhale and Dolphin Conservation 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC),  is the leading international charity dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins, and porpoises. WDC is authorized by NOAA to respond to stranded marine mammals through an agreement as part of the Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network. 

Press contact: Sarah McCormack, Stranding Coordinator, [email protected]

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