Wildlife Safety On The Line With Increase of Boaters - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wildlife Safety On The Line With Increase of Boaters

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OCEAN CITY, Md - A terrapin, Maryland's mascot, is now in rehabilitation after a boat or jet ski propeller hit her. Sandi Smith of Maryland Coastal Bays Program says this kind of thing happens more often , with more boaters on the water for the holiday weekend. And with 108 threatened species in these waters - its important to know how to keep them safe.

If you see wildlife while on the waves, stay at least 50 feet away. It's actually a law. "Its called harassment if you get any closer," says Sandi.

This is especially important for dolphins! A mother's attempt to protect her calf could be fatal. "A mother dolphin, she's most likely going to try and keep that calf by her. So there's a potential of it drowning or being separated. Once its separated from its mother, when they're that young, they can't survive on their own," Smith says.

And in terms of bird sanctuaries, although there are signs warning people to stay away, experts say some people still go ashore illegally. This puts those habitats at risk. The birds rely on the flourishing vegetation to survive. Also, the large quantities on one island intimidate predictors from eating them. Humans and pets disrupting the island could threaten these birds further. As much as you'd like to help, like flipping over a horseshoe crab stranded on its back, don't grab its tail! " If you break that tail you've done more harm then good. The best thing you can do is grab them by their shell and flip them over," says Smith.

The best rule of thumb, is stay in channels, away from natural shorelines where sea animals lay their eggs, and follow the designated bowies.

If you hit or see an injured animal, report it to the natural resources police as soon as possible at 1-800-628-9944

A loggerhead turtle that was found beached on Assateague, MD last week, that also had propeller wounds on its shell. However, experts say they do not know at this point if the injuries were the cause of its death, or if it was hit afterward.

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