While the end-of-year holidays are a good time to relax and celebrate with family, the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network (QMMERN) team remains prepared to mobilize during this period. In fact, the 1-877-722-5346 hotline operates 24/7, 365 days a year!
During the winter months, a large number of calls relate to pinnipeds. Likewise, in recent weeks, sightings of seals on shore have been cause for concern for citizens in a number of municipalities between Québec City and the Gaspé.
In winter, different species of seals can come onto dry land or the pack ice to rest. Also, a seal out of the water is a normal situation that does not necessarily require an intervention. Observe it from a distance to enjoy this special encounter without causing any disturbance.
However, if you see a seal that appears to be in a bad way or is being harassed, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-877-722-5346.
Large rorquals still lingering
This time of year, most cetaceans have migrated to warmer waters, but it is still possible to happen upon the carcasses of seals or belugas, which reside in the St. Lawrence year-round. Land observers might also spot one or more large rorquals in difficulty. For example, whales occasionally get trapped in the ice, as was the case in 2014 when nine blue whale carcasses were discovered in Newfoundland.
Stay on the lookout during the holidays: Should you see a vulnerable seal or whale or if you observe a drifting or beached carcass, promptly call 1-877-722-5346.
On behalf of the entire Marine Mammal Emergencies team and our partners, we wish you happy holidays and would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of our mission in 2021.