The seal sanctuary „Nationalpark-Haus“ is the efficient, approved sanctuary for marine mammals. Every year the sanctuary rears between 100 and 180 orphaned common seals and occasionally grey seals and releases them into the North Sea. It is responsible for the whole wadden sea of Lower Saxony, that enjoys special protection as a national park, biosphere reserve and natural world heritage.
A few years ago the Association for the Research and Protection of Seals (Verein zur Erforschung und Erhaltung des Seehundes e.V.) has already bought three pairs of Leica Geovid binoculars in order to optimize the work of their staff. For the main task of the seal sanctuary – the rehabilitation and the rearing of orphaned seal pups – the individual control of the location of where the seal was found is of utmost importance. How great is the distance to the animal? How far is the nearest tideway? What is the outer appearance of the animal? With the Leica Geovid 8×42 binoculars the necessary information are available fast and efficiently.
It is essential to remain calm and keep at a distance when an animal is spotted. This reduces the level of stress for the animal and is necessary in case the mother is close by and could try to get to her pup. The specially trained wadden sea game keepers or the staff members of the Nationalpark-Haus will take the animal to the sanctuary only when it is evident that there is no chance that the mother will reestablish contact to her pup.
A similar procedure is applied in case an injured or weakened wild bird is found: control from a distance reduces the stress level of the animal. The bird sanctuary run by the Association for the Research and Protection of Seals looks after more than 500 birds every year and has thus even greater need of high-quality optics.
Another field of application of the Leica Geovid binoculars is the observation of the animals on trips to the seal colonies. Staff members of the seal sanctuary Nationalpark-Haus Norden-Norddeich accompany certified trips for the national park and can take down the number of seals during the trip as well as distinguish the grey seals living socialized in the seal colonies. At the same time they can measure the distance of the boat to the animals. That way possible disturbances can be documented, which helps optimizing the protection of this animal species native to the wadden sea.
Dr. Peter Lienau is the head of the seal sanctuary Nationalpark-Haus.