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Seals Showing Up On Jersey Shore Beaches

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BRIGANTINE, N.J., (CBS) — Not many people go to the beach in the winter, but we’ve seen something else showing up down the shore.

Seals are seeking warmth like the rest of us — and CBS 3’s Carol Erickson has more on the reason why.

There up on the screen on the left — the mermaid-shaped star of a closed circuit reality show.  One of the very few viewers of this seal show is Bob Schoelkopf, a marine mammal’s best friend, via night vision cameras and in-person visits.

“Sorry to wake you up,” he said.

He keeps a close eye on the cloudy eye of this occupant of Schoelkopf’s Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. The 10-month-old harbor seal ended up on Sea Isle City’s beach on January 17th, a bad eye lesion threatening his survival.

“The fact that he can only see out of one eye, hampers his movement, hampers his hunting ability,” Schoelkopf said.

So the little unnamed guy starring on the closed circuit cameras and carrying the stage name “Pen B” recuperates in his 60-degree room with a pool, helped by nurse Danielle, prescription eye drops, feasting on a freezer full of frozen fish three times a day with a special notation to take his fish oil capsules.

“At least he won’t lose his eye now. We caught him in time,” Schoelkopf said.

Fattened up, this seal will be released onto the sand where he can find company this winter.  Healthy harbor seals and sun-seeking harp seals from the Arctic like this guy rescued by New Jersey fire departments from a frozen bay are showing up on New Jersey beaches, looking for unfrozen water. But these wild animals are not looking for people.

Make no mistake if you see a seal on the beach, don’t approach — they have a nasty infectious bite and most of the time they are just trying to rest.

If you are concerned one might be sick, call (609) 266-0538.

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