Five seal rescue initiatives in the Netherlands have their reservations about a pending report from the Scientific Council for Government Policy.
The report focuses on whether or not it is appropriate for the centres to rescue every seemingly sick or abandoned pup they come across.
According to University of Groningen behavioural biology professor Ton Groothuis, there is growing scientific evidence that rescue centres are not absolutely necessary to keep the seal population healthy. “The popular idea that every young pup you come across on the beach or a sand bank has been abandoned and needs saving is wrong.”
Other North Sea nations – Denmark, Norway and Scotland – oppose the practice, but Germany and the Netherlands prioritise rescuing seal pups.
RTV Noord writes that the staff of the rescue facilities want Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten to consult them in developing policy on the centres. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that while the staff members agree that rescue operations could be better regulated, they worry that the council’s recommendations will make it harder for them to do their jobs.
Seal rescue and rehabilitation centres are located in Pieterburen, Stellendam, Texel and Terschelling, and the Eerste Hulp Bij Zeezoogdieren (First Aid for Marine Mammals) foundation contributes to rescue operations.