IFAW donors offer $5000 in rewards for information on gray seal shootings

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Yarmouth Port, Mass.
Following the news of the gray seal killings on Cape Cod last week, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare -www.ifaw.org) donors and staff stepped forward to offer $5,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest of those responsible. Two other groups are offering an additional $2,500 each bringing the current reward total to $10,000.

“We are truly grateful for the tremendous support we are receiving from our community including Sheila FitzGerald and Arpad Voros of the Old Yarmouth Inn on the recent seal deaths,” said Katie Moore, manager of IFAW’s marine mammal rescue team. “We are hopeful that the reward money will help find those responsible and bring an end to the seal shootings on Cape Cod once and for all.”

In May, five adult gray seals were found shot on Cape Cod beaches and on Friday, June 10 another gray seal was found with bullet wounds. All incidents occurred between Dennis and Chatham. While each case is examined on scene for forensic evidence, the most accurate evidence has come from CT scans and subsequent dissection and removal of the fragments. All ballistic evidence is currently being analyzed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) agents.  All six seals appear to have died as result of the gunshot wounds.

If you have any information leading to those responsible for the seal shootings, please contact the NOAA OLE investigating agent at 508-992-7711, ext. 108.  If you see a live or dead stranded marine mammal, please report it to the IFAW stranding hotline at 508-743-9548. To make a donation to IFAW’s lifesaving animal rescue work around the world, call 1-800-932-4329.

Given the large population of gray seals in this area, it is not uncommon to find stranded animals along the shore.  However, these cases presented differently.  In two instances, trained staff members recognized external wounds on the seals as gun shot wounds. As a result, all seal strandings are being examined more closely for evidence of human interactions, including gunshots.

Gray seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  This federal law prohibits the harassment and killing of all marine mammals and violations can result in both civil and criminal penalties.  

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