CHEERS is dedicated to the general well-being of harbor seals and to vigorous enforcement of applicable law for their protection. Alerts will be posted here of documented instances of continued disturbance or threats to harbor seal safety and habitat; Cheers will be posted when new efforts have been made to extend protection.
updated 10.11.15

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NEW: Our first photo of harbor seals from the Baltic sea


The Marine and Environmental Research Institute, founded and directed by Dr. Susan D. Shaw, has been working to provide the scientific evidence enabling wildlife protection efforts as well as reduction of human exposure to pollutants. Formed in 1990 in response to the death of over 20,000 harbor seals in European waters, they began their Seals as Sentinels program in 2000 to assess toxic contaminants in Northwest Atlantic coast seals. Focusing on the Gulf of Maine, their expertise in using seals as indicators of ecosystem health has enabled them to extend their research from the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico to compunds such as fire retardants in San Francisco.
[ Photo by S. Brousseau - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license ]
Their newest initiative, Stop Toxic Ocean Pollution, has been designed by Dr. Shaw to tackle a broad spectrum of substances including microplastics and chemical dispersants. Her background in public health/environmental sciences, extensive experience in seal tissue analysis, skill in marine diving, and commitment to public advocacy make her a worthy successor to the traditions begun by Rachel Carson.
Her site reports that "On a global scale, levels of toxic chemicals in northwest harbor seals are among the highest in the world." And, for 25 years, they've been working to do something about it.