Posts Tagged 'harbor seal'



Rescued harbor seal is going home

Hastings strandingThis juvenile male harbor seal was stranded along the Atlantic coast of Maryland, in the town of Ocean City, on January 15, 2010. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) responded, and the seal was admitted to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Upon admission, the seal was underweight, severely dehydrated, mildly emaciated, and medically compromised due to a wound behind the left front flipper. In addition to the wound, he was found to have an upper respiratory infection and a mild case of pneumonia at the time of being admitted for rehab.

The seal, called Hastings, was treated with antibiotics for several weeks, and his wound was treated every three days for two weeks. Hastings responded well to treatment and was soon interacting with enrichment devices, the animal equivalent of toys, and eagerly eating. While in rehab, Hastings gained nearly 20 pounds on a daily diet of herring and capelin. He is offered enrichment items to interact with, like frozen fishcicles and a holey bucket with fish inside, to encourage natural feeding behaviors.

Hastings

Tomorrow morning, a healthy Hastings will be returned to Ocean City for release back to his natural environment. The release is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., and will be broadcast live locally on WMAR-TV (Ch. 2).

Follow the Aquarium on Twitter (@NatlAquarium) for live tweets from the release, starting at 5 a.m. tomorrow.

Prior to release, MARP staff will affix a satellite transmitter to his fur, which will fall off when the seal molts (similar to when a dog sheds its fur). The transmitter will allow us to track and monitor the animal post-release, and will help scientists to understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals.

A snow enrichment

Not everyone in Baltimore is tired of the snow! Our newest MARP patient, a young male harbor seal, enjoyed a fresh fish snow cone this morning…

But as you can see, it didn’t last very long!

Helping harbor seals

Harbor seals are the most common seal seen along the East Coast. They live in temperate coastal habitats, spending most of their time in water. But they often use rocks, reefs and beaches for rest, social interaction, to avoid predators and to give birth.  It’s pretty common to see seals on the beaches in Maryland in the winter months.

Because of this, the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works closely with animal control officials in Maryland to monitor seals that arrive on beaches in the event that they are stranded due to sickness or injury. When a report is made, the protocol is to observe the animal for 24-48 hours unless there is an obvious emergency.

A few weeks ago our MARP team responded to reports of two harbor seals who seemed to have been visiting the Ocean City beach a little longer than normal. One seal showed no sign of distress, but was too distracted by people and other animals to make its way back into the ocean.  The seal was eventually transported to Assateague State Park by trained Aquarium responders and released back into the ocean.

The other seal was suffering from a large wound to its front left flipper and admitted to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation on January 23rd. Check out the video below to see how our newest patient is recovering!

Many of the animals admitted to the Aquarium require extensive care in our hospital facilities for as long as six months or more. Medical equipment, medications, and food for these animals can be expensive. Your donation today will help with the rehabilitation of this seal. Click here to learn more.

Hamilton the seal returns to sea!

National Aquarium staff were joined by volunteers on land and the United States Coast Guard by sea at the Delaware DSC_2324Seashore State Park to release “Hamilton”, a harbor seal rehabilitated by the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP), into the ocean.  More pictures of Hamilton can be viewed on the Aquarium’s Flickr site!

The harbor seal originally stranded on the beaches of Bermuda in February. He  was severely underweight and dehydrated, and suffered from a monofilament line entanglement around the neck. Staff at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo admitted the animal to their facility for rehabilitation, and were able to get the animal back on track to health by removing the monofilament line entanglement.

Seals are extremely uncommon in Bermuda, and this is only the 4th seal to be stranded in Bermuda since the 1870’s. Since the seal required long-term rehabilitation, the Bermuda Aquarium contacted the National Aquarium’s experienced Marine Animal Rescue Program, and thanks to a generous donation by Federal Express the seal was flown to Baltimore in March and admitted for full rehabilitation.

Continue reading ‘Hamilton the seal returns to sea!’


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