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Seal bitten by dog ​​again, volunteers sound the alarm (De Haan)


Rooster –

The volunteers of the NorthSealTeam are sounding the alarm: on Thursday another seal was seriously mauled by a dog. An animal in Wenduine had to process no fewer than five bites. Experts are therefore launching an appeal again. “Keep your dog on a leash. The number of incidents is increasing,” says Inge De Bruycker.

The seal came to rest on the beach of Wenduine on Thursday morning. Volunteers from the NorthSealTeam were notified to ‘guard’ the animal, or keep curious people at a distance. But upon arrival, the seal suddenly appeared to be bleeding heavily. “In less than half an hour,” says Inge De Bruycker of NorthSealTeam. “The animal now had no fewer than five bite wounds on the body, forehead and mouth.” The Sea Life reception center in Blankenberge was notified and arrived on site. (read more below the photo)

The seal was eventually thoroughly cared for and disinfected, and eventually led back to the sea. That turned out to be the best solution. “If the animal was admitted, it would experience even more stress,” according to the NorthSealTeam. There they talk about a trend. “From January 2024 to today, 132 seals have been stranded, compared to 52 animals in the same period last year,” says De Bruycker. That is almost a threefold increase. “These figures are separate from the seals that are at the permanent resting places in Ostend and Nieuwpoort every day.” It has been clear for years that the population in the North Sea is growing every day, but the NorthSealTeam indicates that the current figures are unprecedented.

Serious infections

That is why the volunteers are once again launching an appeal: keep your four-legged friend on a leash. “The number of incidents is increasing. Seals emit a specific odor that triggers dogs,” says De Bruycker. “Despite their owner’s best efforts, the dogs always rush towards the seals. That’s their instinct.”

And such a conflict between a seal and a pet can also be dangerous for dogs. “The seal’s teeth are a source of bacteria. A seal bite can cause serious infections,” it said. Thursday was also not an isolated incident. “Since New Year’s, we have encountered a biting incident every week. We have now even reported it to the local Bredene/De Haan police zone,” says Inge. (read more below the photo)

Deaf ears

The NorthSealTeam consists of a team of approximately 150 volunteers who monitor stranded seals along the entire coast. And that turns out to be necessary. “Our job, among other things, is to sensitize walkers and to establish a perimeter of 30 meters around the seals,” it said. This is done with orange cones. “We also try to indicate where seals are located in areas where stray dogs are allowed. Unfortunately, some owners do not adhere to these guidelines, resulting in serious consequences. We can keep repeating it, but our message falls on deaf ears.”

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