A mature gray seal suffered massive head wounds from several rounds of
ammunition and had to be euthanized earlier this month in Truro.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement is looking for anyone who may know about the shooting, that likely occurred on or around Sept. 30. The seal had last been seen alive – and healthy – in the Great Point area of Nantucket.
Once so hunted they all but disappeared from Northeast waters, gray seals are making a comeback off New England to both public delight and damnation. This summer, they were the bait blamed for luring great white sharks so close to Cape Cod's swimming beaches that some had to be closed and fishermen complain the seals eat too many valuable fish.
The animal was humanely euthanized by experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare after being found.
“It is my hope that someone will come forward with information regarding this incident,” said Special Agent Todd Nickerson of NOAA Office of Law Enforcement’s Northeast Division. “No animal should suffer the way this one did. It was found in great physical distress with numerous wounds and had been that way for several days.”
Gray seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and prohibits, except in some instances such as approved research, the harassment, hunting, capture or killing of marine mammals. Those who violate the law can face up to $100,000 in criminal penalties, up to a year in prison and/or civil penalties up to $11,000.
Those with information about the shooting should contact Nickerson at 508-990-8752. Callers can remain anonymous.
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