New York State DEC Rescues Seal Entangled in Net: A Heroic Wildlife Rescue Story

Sara Irshad


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is widely known for its remarkable search and rescue missions, often involving saving stranded hikers and lost individuals in the wilderness.

However, not all their heroic rescues revolve around humans. Recently, they demonstrated their commitment to wildlife conservation by rescuing a seal entangled in a net. This heartwarming story highlights the dedication of the DEC to protecting and safeguarding all living creatures within the state.

Seals in New York: A Seasonal Presence

Seals can be found along the coast of New York from late fall until late spring, with the highest concentration occurring in April. These magnificent creatures leave the water to haul out, seeking respite on beaches and rocks to regulate their body temperature.

During these periods, they engage in activities such as socializing, giving birth, and moulting. Notably, hauling out in groups provides seals with added protection against potential predators, as highlighted by the experts at the NY DEC.

The three most common seal species found off the coast of New York are harbour seals, grey seals, and harp seals.

Rescue Mission: New York DEC Saves Entangled Seal

The New York DEC received an urgent report from the New York Marine Rescue Center (NYMRC) regarding a seal caught in a gill net on Little Gull Island. Acting swiftly, the DEC dispatched two experienced officers, ECOs Zullo and Vandenbos, to the scene by boat.

They identified the distressed seal on the island using their keen eyes and binoculars.

Without hesitation, the officers bravely leapt out of the boat, secured the injured seal, and carefully transported it back to the vessel. The DEC officers promptly delivered the rescued seal to the NYMRC in Riverhead, demonstrating their commitment to wildlife welfare.

There, the animal received the necessary treatment for its wounds, with the ultimate goal of releasing it back into its natural habitat.

Harbor Seals: An Atlantic Range

According to information provided by Wikipedia, harbour seals have a vast range that spans over a thousand miles along the Atlantic coast. From the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and Greenland to the beaches of North Carolina, these graceful creatures navigate the waters with grace and agility.

A park ranger in New York City once aptly described the city as a "Miami resort" for harbour seals, showcasing their affinity for the region.

Thanks to concerted conservation efforts, harbour seal populations in the Tri-State waters have seen a positive resurgence in recent years.

Seals Flourishing in the Hudson River

In an intriguing development, a harbour seal was spotted near Hook Mountain off Nyack State Beach in February, creating quite a buzz among locals. This sighting reflects the positive impact of cleaner Hudson waters, which have attracted diverse marine wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and even whales.

The nonprofit organization Riverkeeper affirms that the Hudson River is a haven for these creatures, offering refuge far away from the threats posed by sharks and other predators.


The heroic rescue of the entangled seal by the New York State DEC exemplifies the department's unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation. Seals, with their seasonal presence along the New York coast, are an integral part of the marine ecosystem.

The efforts of the DEC and increasing conservation endeavours are crucial in protecting and preserving these magnificent creatures and ensuring their continued flourishing in the Tri-State waters.

Through their dedication, the DEC serves as a beacon of hope for humans and animals alike, reminding us of the importance of coexisting harmoniously with the natural world.

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