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Gray Seal Found Shot in Delaware

May 09, 2024

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement offering a reward of up to $4,000 for information.

An injured gray seal lying on the beach. Gray seal. Credit: MERR Institute

On April 19, NOAA Fisheries received a report of a juvenile gray seal in Delaware with bite injuries sustained from another animal. Our stranding network partner, the Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute, collected the seal alive. They transferred it to the National Aquarium’s Ocean City facility for assessment. Unfortunately, the seal did not survive. MERR completed a necropsy (animal autopsy), which revealed injuries associated with bite wounds from an animal. The seal had also been shot with a firearm. 

Map of Fenwick Island, Delaware where the injured gray seal was found.
Location seal was found, Fenwick Island, Delaware. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the death and we are asking the public for any information about who may have been involved. We are offering a reward of up to $4,000 for information leading to a criminal conviction or the assessment of a civil penalty.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964. You can leave tips anonymously, but to be eligible for the reward you must include your name and contact information.

We are looking for information leading to one or all of the following:

1. Successful identification and/or

2. Successful prosecution for the person(s) responsible

3. Arrest, conviction, or civil penalty assessment

Harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild seals is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violations can be prosecuted civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail per violation. Report any injured, entangled or dead marine mammals to the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Network 24-hour Hotline at (866) 755-6622.


Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on May 10, 2024