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Feb 21st
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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Entangled Elephant Seal Freed from Deadly Plastic Strap

Entangled Elephant Seal Freed from Deadly Plastic Strap

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"Mr. Elusive" now has a new lease on life thanks to volunteers and staff members from Point Reyes National Seashore and The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) who were able to catch the elusive northern elephant seal and remove the plastic strap entangled around his neck.

On Jan. 10, 2012, the happy ending was achieved when park rangers from Point Reyes spotted the elephant seal nicknamed Mr. Elusive near Drake's Beach above San Francisco and called veterinarians and volunteers from TMMC.

elephantseal_01In order to remove the thick white packing strap that was tightly wrapped around his neck, the seal was first approached while he was on the beach and sedated, then had his head covered with a towel to calm him down.

Veterinarian staff from TMMC then located the strap, buried deeply in a wound on the seal's neck and removed it.

The area around the neck was evaluated and cleaned, then the animal quickly returned to the ocean.

"This field disentanglement is the third, in a recent series of northern elephant seals seriously harmed (injured) by negative human interaction, and one that we've been able to help," said Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center. "It's what we all work for, and it's gratifying when it all goes this smoothly, especially after such a long time tracking this animal."

The large subadult male seal (estimated to be between 700-1,000 lbs.) is approximately five years old. First spotted on Nov. 16, 2009, Mr. Elusive had eluded several attempts to remove the plastic strap.

elephantseal_02In 2004, a female elephant seal at Point Reyes had a similar situation occur, but that strap was quickly removed from the seal. She has since been coming back to Point Reyes each year and giving birth to seal pups.

There are currently over 700 elephant seals on the beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore and approximately 220 pups have already been born. Last year, over 600 pups were born on Point Reyes' beaches.

Point Reyes National Seashore was established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural ecosystems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States.

Located just an hour's drive from San Francisco, California, the Seashore is a sanctuary for myriad plant and animal species and for the human spirit - for discovery, inspiration, solitude, and recreation - and exists as a reminder of the human connection to the land.

The Point Reyes Website can be found at
www.nps.gov/pore .

The Marine Mammal Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) registered organization, is headquartered in Sausalito, California.

Since its inception in 1975, TMMC has rescued and treated more than 16,000 elephant seals, sea lions, sea otters and other marine mammals that get stranded along 600 miles of California coast, and conducted research about marine mammal health conditions. The center is able to accomplish this amazing feat thanks to a small staff and more than 800 dedicated volunteers.

TMMC's Website can be found at
www.marinemammalcenter.org .

National & State Parks