By Kate Merrill

BOURNE (CBS) – Cape Cod is home to all kinds of sea creatures. But every year more and more of them run into trouble on our beaches. That’s why one non-profit has made it their mission to step in, save them and get them back into the water.

At the National Marine Life Center in Bourne, they love seals, but they know they can’t show it. Here it is all about the rehab.

National Marine Life Center in Bourne. (WBZ-TV)

“Reason being, these are wild animals, and we want them to stay wild, so when they go back out into the ocean we want to make sure they are not familiar with humans, so, ideally, they would not try to seek contact with them on the beaches,” Lisa Becker, the Director of Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation, told WBZ-TV.

The non-profit is a lifeline for stranded seals and sea turtles and they can barely keep up.

“It is a big problem and unfortunately a lot of the cases we see are related to human interaction. Our trash, our garbage, remnants of fishing gear in the water, that seals, in particular, they are very curious, they will go and investigate and as they start nosing around the materials it often gets entangled around their neck,” said Connie Merigo, the center’s executive director.

So here they are evaluated, treated and hopefully sent home, but not before they are ready for life on their own again, like teaching little Dianesis the seal to eat fish.

Dianesis the seal eats a fish. (WBZ-TV)

“They need to practice how to eat the fish without our assistance,” Becker said.

And no hugs are allowed. Instead, they can educate in their center and teach about seals and sea life and the dangers they face. Getting informed, they say, is the best way to show love and solve a problem that’s unfortunately putting them here in record numbers.

“Things are happening off our coast very quickly and we feel obligated to help advance the science and to help these animals that are impacted by it,” Merigo said.

The learning center is not open to the public because of the pandemic, but they have lots of fun videos on line. They’re hoping to expand the center because they need more room as the strandings increase.

To learn more about the center and how you can help, go to their website.

Kate Merrill