Volunteers trying to help stranded seals along the Jersey Shore had a sad Sunday morning, after two seals died overnight and a third had been found dead in Monmouth Beach on Saturday.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center, based in Brigantine, shared the news on Facebook, saying one of the animals lost was a grey seal that had been rescued in Belmar on Feb. 6. The other seal that died overnight had been found a harp seal picked up in Cliffwood beach on Saturday.

There was at least one brighter update, as the Center said another harbor seal rescued in Deal on Saturday was stable as of Sunday afternoon.

It has been a very busy season of strandings, with 22 harbor and gray seals found along Jersey's coastline since last July.

That figure is included in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that shows the New England section of the East Coast has been dealing with an unusually high number of seal deaths over the same timespan. Based on tests conducted so far, a number of these seals were found to have phocine distemper virus. It cannot be transferred to humans, but still may be able to affect pets.

Beachgoers who see a stranded seal are reminded not to approach the animal themselves, but to notify the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, by calling 609-266-0538.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is a non-profit that receives all funding from donations, grants, memberships and fundraising efforts, as it explains in a video featured on its website. You can watch it below.

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