CHATHAM (CBS) – Five gray seals have been found shot to death on Cape Cod beaches in recent weeks.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team, all five seals died from those gunshot wounds.
The killings have stunned enviornmental officials.
“We work really hard to rescue these guys and to have other humans do this to them, it’s tough, it definitely is tough,” said Sarah Sharpe, the stranding coordinator with the IFAW.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports
The dead seals have turned up on beaches from Dennis to Chatham.
“These animals are suffering greatly, said Special Agent Todd Nickerson of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement. “We are taking these crimes very seriously and are strongly encouraging anyone with information to call.”
Gray seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Killing them is a federal offense.
“The bottom line is that the perpetrators are breaking the law and animals are suffering and dying as a result,” said Katie Moore, manager of the IFAW team.
If you see a live or dead stranded marine mammal, you’re asked to report it to the IFAW stranding hotline at 508-743-9548.
If you have any information regarding the above cases, please contact Special Agent Nickerson at 508-990-8752.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report