Animal Conservation

Seahawks Celebrate the Work of SeaLife Response + Rehab + Research (SR3)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, marine life and the ocean have played a major role in the region’s lifestyle and culture for millennia. But while we cherish the beauty of our waters and its people, we don’t always consider the significant efforts that go behind the scenes to keep wildlife safe and keep their habitats in habitable conditions.

Diseases, human impacts that lead to injury, or the disturbances that cause their mothers to abandon them are just a few of the problems that plague marine life, and often these animals do not get the help they need to survive. on time. But there is an organization helping to solve this problem in our region.

The Seahawks are proud to support SeaLife Response + Rehab + Research (SR3), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping injured, stranded or in distress marine animals; rehabilitate injured animals to give them a second chance at life; and do critical research to inform conservation efforts for the health of our local Southern Resident Killer Whales and other cetaceans like dolphins and porpoises. Founded in 2011, SR3 is a one-of-a-kind operation, working with local tribes and other community groups to help educate the public about marine conservation and promote a healthier environment.

The dramatic increase in the transit of tankers and freighters along our coasts and in the Salish Sea over the years poses an increased risk of an oil spill for dozens of different marine wildlife species. This, combined with the fact that marine animal strandings in the Salish Sea have grown from about two animals per year in the 1970s to nearly 40 per year in the past decade, necessitated the presence of ‘a local facility specially designed to assess and treat endangered marine life in the northwest.

When the SR3 Marine Wildlife Hospital opened this spring in Des Moines, it was the first time that multiple species could receive care right here in our own region. By rehabilitating marine animals, researchers at SR3 are able to monitor the overall health of marine ecosystems and wildlife populations as a whole. A healthy population of harbor seals, for example – the most abundant marine mammal in the Salish Sea – reflects the health of the oceans and also bodes well for the health of the human community.

In addition to its intervention and rehabilitation work, SR3 also conducts research on the health of local cetaceans to inform conservation efforts and monitor the overall health of marine wildlife populations. In June, Dr. Holly Fearnbach of SR3 concluded a collaborative research project to assess the health of Gray Sounder whales and document changes in their body condition during a feeding stopover in northern Puget Sound. . The project used a remote-controlled drone to collect images of 14 whales between February and June, and found “a constant and dramatic improvement in body condition”, as well as a documented pregnancy among the whales.

SR3 recommends that if you find a seal or other marine mammal that appears to be injured or in distress, do not touch it! Marine mammals like sea lions, seals, sea otters, whales and porpoises are protected by federal laws requiring people to stay at least 100 meters away. Instead, contact the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-866-767-6114. For entangled whales found along the Washington, Oregon or California coast, you can call the NOAA Fishing Entanglement Reporting Hotline at 1-877-SOS-WHALe (1-877- 767-9425). Finally, for sea otters on Washington Beach, contact the Washington Sea Otter Stranding Hotline at 1-877-326-8837.

To help feed and care for marine animals in rehabilitation, and to support the important work and research being carried out by SR3, you can make a donation here. SR3’s community ambulance will also make an appearance in Touchdown City ahead of our Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Rams this Thursday, October 7, where fans will have the chance to see up close and learn about the work of SR3.

Click here to find more ways to support SR3, such as donating supplies from their Amazon Wish List or joining the Wavemakers Club to make monthly gift payments and receive unique benefits and opportunities.

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