Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Scientists struggle to rescue a seal in distress in Surtsey island

By Staff

  • Resting on the rocky beach The seal cow is having trouble swimming with a rope wrapped around its neck. Photo/Icelandic Environment Agency

Attempts by scientists who are stationed in Surtsey island, off the South coast of Iceland, to rescue a cow harbor seal in distress have been unsuccessful. An employee with the Environment Agency of Iceland noticed earlier this week that the seal had a rope from a fishing net wrapped around its neck. The seal appears to be in considerable distress.

Rescue attempts will continue
Yesterday the Environment Agency posted photographs of the seal on its Facebook page. Þórdís Vilhelmína Bragadóttir, who is stationed in the island as a nature guard had spotted the seal, who is an adult cow. A blue rope is wrapped tightly around the seal's neck. Þórdís believes the rope is causing the seal trouble breathing, as the cow makes unusually frequent trips onto the beach to rest.

Attempts by the scientists who are stationed in the island to help the seal have so far been unsuccessful, as the seal does not permit humans to approach it. The rescue attempts will be continued in coming days.

A closed nature preserve
Surtsey island is a small volcanic island south-west of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The island was formed in a 1963-67 submarine eruption.

The island was declared a protected nature preserve in 1965, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, due to its unique geology and ecosystem. It is open only to scientists who use it as a real-life laboratory to study how animal and plant life colonizes new virgin land.

Sirtsey seal in distress
Surtsey seal in distress The seal does not allow humans to approach it. Photo/Icelandic Environment Agency


Related content

Editor's Picks