5K run in Brigantine, NJ to benefit Marine Mammal Stranding Center
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine is celebrating its 44th anniversary. It is credited with having responded to over 5,700 stranded whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles.
Now that COVID protocols have been lifted in New Jersey, MMSC has resumed holding much-needed fundraisers to help them out.
The Run for Animals will take place Saturday, May 21 starting at 8 a.m. at The Laguna Grill and Rum Bar in Brigantine.
Founding MMSC Director Bob Schoelkopf said the 5K run/walk attracts so many people each year. So far the turnout is good but he said there is still room for people to register.
The fee is $25 until May 1, $35 from May 2 until May 20, and $45 after 6 pm Friday, May 20 until race day.
Free breakfast will be served for the first 350 runners registered. The race is baby stroller friendly and dog friendly. Schoelkopf said people love to walk and run with their dogs on race day.
All proceeds from the "Run for Animals" will mostly go toward food and medicine at the stranding center.
Proceeds from the race will also help offset the cost of skyrocketing fuel prices. Members of MMSC are responsible for picking up animals across the state, up and down the coast and that's a lot of driving.
Schoelkopf said currently, the center is nursing 8 grey seal pups back to health. They are about two to three months old and they eat a lot of fish daily!
"They're eating about 9 to 10 pounds of fish per animal per day," he said.
One seal pup is a patient because of shark bites. Others suffered lacerations and scrapes just from being on the jetties. Schoelkopf said the rocks on the jetties are very sharp and they can cut the seals up pretty bad. They are tender animals at 3 months old. He said any little scrape can get infected quickly so they need to be cleaned up immediately.
Schoelkopf also warned beachgoers not to be so quick to rescue a beached seal. Not all seals on the beach are sick or injured.
He said it's very possible they are sleeping off a big meal. Seals feed at sea. Many times they come ashore to catch some sun, warm up and grab a nap, especially the pups.
It's always a good idea to keep your proper distance from the animals. Schoelkopf said there are about 150 signs on beaches up and down the coast indicating that there are seals on the beaches. Leave them alone and keep a 150-foot distance.
All race details and information about the stranding center and the seal pup patients can be found at www.mmsc.org.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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