Harvey Cedars Plugs Marine Mammal Stranding Center

Mar 21, 2018

At this time of year, Harvey Cedars mails out preseason beach badge renewal forms to borough residents. But this year’s brochure will also include a flyer for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, with information on its “Adopt-a-Seal” program as well as general information about the center, which is marking its 40th anniversary.

“They do so much good for us and the Island and they operate strictly on donations, so we thought it would be appropriate to call attention to them and make people more aware of what they do,” said Mayor Jonathan Oldham.

The center has responded to many calls on the Island  over the years to rescue seals.

“If its nice out, they like to come out of the water and rest on the beach,” said Oldham of the seals. “But they can also get injured, especially if they are hit by a boat. The center’s staff does a great job in taking care of their injuries and then setting them back into the water.”

Since its founding in 1978, the center has responded to more than 4,900 strandings of whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that have washed ashore. Bob Schoelkopf, director and co-founder, said that of those stranding calls, 985 were reported on LBI, with 67 occurring in Harvey Cedars.

“On the Island, it’s usually seals or sea turtles,” said Schoelkopf. “This year, throughout the whole state, we have responded to 38 strandings.”

Schoelkopf said the center’s yearly operating expense is $650,000, with all funding coming through donations, grants, memberships and fundraising efforts.

“We really appreciate what Harvey Cedars is doing,” he said. “Their support will help the facility to expand and to care for the increasing number of animals. Without such assistance, these creatures have little hope of survival or rehabilitation.”  —E.E.

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