"They Save Baby Seals From Fishing Line and Plastics. Millions Watch"

"Ocean Conservation Namibia is disentangling a record number of seals, while broadcasting the perils of marine debris in a largely feel good way."

"A group of men sprints across a windswept beach, holding what look like outsize butterfly nets, and close in on a colony of seals trying to escape into the sea.

The pursuers wrestle with their quarry: Seals entangled by fishing gear and other maritime garbage, whose fortunes are about to be reversed. As one man pins down a panicked animal, another cuts away the plastic deeply embedded in its neck. The chase ends with a freed seal triumphantly returning to the ocean.

Ocean Conservation Namibia, a nonprofit group based on the central coast of Namibia, estimates it has rescued around 3,000 seals entangled in marine garbage since 2020. Videos of its rescues posted online became a sensation during the pandemic, suggesting that the group has threaded a tricky needle: calling attention to the growing crisis of marine trash but with a feel-good ending for the affected animals."

Cara Buckley reports for the New York Times March 26, 2024.

Source: NYTimes, 03/27/2024