IFAW Seal Hunt Watch 2008 - Safety Preparations

Safety_prep_hw_2008Katie McConnell filed this report from the IFAW hanger in PEI, Canada.

Before the IFAW team headed out to see this year’s harp seal herd in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we had a safety briefing to help orient ourselves with the helicopters that would be taking us out to see the seals.

Our pilot explained some of the very important safety precautions all of us must take when we enter and exit the machine. The flight team learned how to approach the helicopter, by staying low and always walking in front of the helicopter so the pilot can see us at all times.

Under no circumstances are we to approach the helicopter from behind. Our team leader, Cheryl Jacobson reminded us, “it’s like a horse…never walk up behind one or you’ll get kicked.” Good point – especially since a kick from a tail rotor of a helicopter would most certainly be a fatal one.

We also discussed where the safety equipment – (satellite phones, life rafts, etc.) was located and how we can access it. For most of our briefing, we watched the pilot point out important parts of the helicopter and listened to what we needed to do.

However, for one part we actually had to practice getting in and out of the helicopter as it was hovering a few feet above land. The pilot wasn’t sure if the ice in the gulf was going to be thick enough to support the weight of the machine so we had to approach the helicopter while it was hovering, open the door carefully, distribute our weight evenly and slowly as we climbed in, scoot across the back seat and exit out the other side.

Once we made it out of our hanger and into the gulf, there was plenty of ice and we were able to land safely on it. Luckily we got to see some happy beater seals too. This was my first year seeing baby seals on the ice, and watching them play just made the thought of the commercial seal hunt even more of a disgrace.

Comments: 5

6 years ago

HI Everyone I Care Very Deeply About Seals So IT Saddened Me That They get Killed? & Someday I Know Jehovah God & Our Savor Jesus Christ Will Bring AN End Too All Badness Thanks.

7 years ago

Hey anonymous,....
the IFAW observations are absolutely right and genuine.
McCartney and Heather were lying behind the baby-seal,..not touching this....
and you are wrong...
Humans are over-populated and a big part from that the rotten murderers on the ice- floes.
Seals are important, the killers are totally worthless !!!

7 years ago

Okay. BIG problem. Those pictures are FAKE it's ILLEGAL to club seals, they are shot, and plus you think those pictures are real?There using a baseball bat and those people are posing for the pic.Seals are OVER-POPULATED and they are not allowed to be hunted at 14 days GET YOUR FAQS RIGHT it's 30 when they are ADULTS. And think about the people not just the seals, they depend on the seal hunt. Practically NOTHING is wasted off the seal and seal oil is EXTREMELY good for you. AND that sympathy stuff is GARBAGE. you know the picture of Paul Mcartny and his wife

7 years ago

My hearts are with you all..my body is at a desk in an office-and my mind is constantly saddened and at the same time so very greatful for what you CAN do..many blessings, Maria

7 years ago

Good luck to the HuntWatch team.. thanks for never giving up on the seals!

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