- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2020

LEWES, Del. (AP) - The public needs to keep a safe distance from the seals that will be present along Delaware beaches and other waterways through April, according to the state’s official marine mammal and sea turtle stranding response organization.

The MERR Institute recommends that the public stay at least 150 feet from seals and to always keep pets on a leash and also at a safe distance since seals are wild animals that can bite if they feel threatened.

It is common at this time of the year to see seals on area beaches, docks, and other locations where they can rest, the Delaware State News reports.

Four species of seals may visit Delaware. Oftentimes these animals are healthy, but at other times they may be suffering from illness or injury, and are in need of veterinary care, officials said.

In the case of a healthy animal, MERR will station volunteers at the site to monitor the seal and to help provide information to beachgoers. In the case of an ill or injured seal, MERR will rescue the animal and provide veterinary treatment.

If someone encounters a seal, contact MERR as soon as possible at 302 228-5029.

The goal is to help the seal to rest undisturbed so it can return to the water of its own accord. For more information, visit MERR’s website at www.merrinstitute.org.

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