On the shores of northern France, seals are winding up dead. Since January, at least three seals have been found dead on the Cote d’Opale, a burst of shore near the Netherlands. An animal conservation group is offering about $12,000 to anyone with information about the killings.
According to the French newspaper Nord Littoral, two of the seals had bullet wounds. Autopsies revealed that the bullets were most probably fired using a hunting rifle. The third seal may have suffocated or been strangled. The weapons used have varied.
“We don’t always find the carcasses and there’s not always an autopsy,” Lamya Essemlali, the regional head of Sea Shepherd, told the paper. “But as far as we know, there aren’t similar cases on the other beaches in France. This is specific to the northern shore.”
“What nonsense,” he told Europe 1, a French radio station.
“I find it hard to believe that this is the work of a fisherman,” he said. “Trying to accuse us of killing the seals is utter folly. The reward should go to the penniless migrants in Calais. They need the money more than the seals do.”
But Essemlali isn’t so sure that the seamen are blameless. “This anti-seal collective may or may not be directly responsible for poaching, but it is certain that it is responsible for a climate of hatred and resentment towards these animals,” she said, according to Europe 1.