Saving Seals From a Sea of Plastic and Marine Garbage


A group of men sprints across a windswept beach, holding what look like outsize butterfly nets, and close in on a colony of seals trying to escape into the sea.
The pursuers wrestle with their quarry: Seals entangled by fishing gear and other maritime garbage, whose fortunes are about to be reversed. As one man pins down a panicked animal, another cuts away the plastic deeply embedded in its neck. The chase ends with a freed seal triumphantly returning to the ocean.
Ocean Conservation Namibia, a nonprofit group based on the central coast of Namibia, estimates it has rescued around 3,000 seals entangled in marine garbage since 2020. Videos of its rescues posted online became a sensation during the pandemic, suggesting that the group has threaded a tricky needle: calling attention to the growing crisis of marine trash but with a feel-good ending for the affected animals.


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