The Riverhead Foundation is performing a necropsy on a dead seal that washed up on the shores of the Southold town beach Saturday morning.
According to Rob DiGiovanni, executive director and senior biologist for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, a male gray seal, about six-and-a-half feet long, washed up Saturday on Southold's town beach.
The seal, DiGiovanni said, appeared underweight and seemed to have died recently.
The Riverhead Foundation brought the seal in for a necropsy; the fact that it died recently will help provide "a lot more information about the animal," DiGiovanni said.
While DiGiovanni said it is not necessarily unusual to have seals wash up on Long Island Sound beaches, traditionally, over the past 30 years, "having an adult gray seal wash up is rare" because not as many usually frequent area waters.
However, over the past few years, an increasing gray seal population has been seen on Little Gull Island in the Long Island Sound, making the appearance of the gray seal less rare or unusual, he said.
When a seal is found, DiGiovanni said, researchers try to moniter if there is a major reason it has died -- if a number of animals have died and appeared on beaches in a short amount of time, meaning perhaps they might have become entangled somehow, or that there may have been some other underlying connection.
The organization is volunteer-based and run through by donations and fund-raising efforts, DiGiovanni said, so the number of tests that can be done is limited.
"The more samples we can run, and tests we can do -- we can determine contributory factors," DiGiovanni said. "It's like putting a puzzle together."