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What To Do When You See an Entangled Animal: Part II

Posted On July 16, 2012 by

Though your first instinct may be to try and free a marine mammal or sea turtle, entanglement experts strongly urge you to resist this understandably natural impulse. Credit: Fort Meyers Beach Government

This is a follow-up to my original post about helping entangled animals. Readers requested more information about why you shouldn’t try to disentangle marine mammals, as well as more information about helping crustaceans and other smaller animals.

Why shouldn’t I try to help an entangled mammal or sea turtle?

Though your first instinct may be to try and free a marine mammal or sea turtle, entanglement experts strongly urge you to resist this understandably natural impulse because a person without training can seriously hurt both himself and the animal. For example, approaching an entangled seal might scare it back into the water, where it might end up drowning. Also, even if you successfully remove debris from, say, a dolphin, it could have an infection resulting from wounds and may require professional medical attention. In this case, prematurely releasing the animal back into the ocean will endanger its life. Also, many of these animals are strong, heavy, and unpredictable, which is why calling a stranding center nearest you is the best way you can help an animal. 

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