Save the Bay’s yearly seal count paints a healthy picture of Narragansett Bay

Save the Bay and their volunteers and partner organizations counted 464 seals in Narragansett Bay and 106 seals on Block Island.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The numbers are in.  Save the Bay’s yearly bay-wide seal count is complete, and the results are encouraging.

July Lewis is the Volunteer and Internship Manager at Save The Bay.  Lewis says, “There’s a lot of people who have no idea that there are seals in the bay, and we like to talk about seals because we like to talk about how alive the bay is and how many amazing creatures call it home.”

According to Save the Bay, harbor seals migrate to Narragansett Bay from November through April, while grey seals can be found around Block Island year-round.  This year, they counted 464 seals in Narragansett Bay and their partner organization, the Nature Conservancy, counted 106 seals on Block Island.

Lewis says, “There may be some more that are swimming around that we didn’t have a chance to count, but we put our eyes on that many seals so it’s a great minimum estimate for our population.”

According to Save the Bay, these numbers are about average, which indicates an overall healthy picture of the bay.

Eric Pfirrmann is Save the Bay’s Fleet Captain.  Pfirrmann says, “If your apex predator’s numbers are kind of trucking along at right around what is your normal state, you’ve got a pretty good idea that everything else is going fairly well.”

If you want to see the seals for yourself, Save the Bay wants to remind you that they are a protected species and can easily be stressed by human behavior.

Pfirrmann says, “Some of the best ways is to see them from shore, generally you’re going to require binoculars or a spotting scope or something along that line.”

Or you can head out on a seal tour with Save the Bay and let the professionals show you around.

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Categories: News, Rhode Island