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.

For more than three months, the National Aquarium treated the seal for abscesses and prepared him for release. Hamilton now weighs 139 pounds and is eating 9 lbs of fish a day. The volunteers chose the name Hamilton after the capital city of Bermuda where he was found.

Prior to release, “Hamilton” was fitted with a satellite tag so Aquarium staff can follow his progress in the ocean for the next few months. You can track Hamilton’s progress by viewing a satellite map of his travels at the Aquarium’s website at http://www.aqua.org/trackhamilton. Information will be gathered until the  adhesive fails and the tag falls off.  The National Aquarium is also currently tracking 3 sea turtles that the MARP team helped rehabilitate and release!

You can learn more about the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program here. The Aquarium also accepts donations to MARP that help fund animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Help make a difference!



5 Responses to “Hamilton the seal returns to sea!”

  1. 1 Dr. Ian Walker July 9, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Nice job everybody in the MARP team and Animal Health Team. Thanks for getting our little guy back in the water!!

    Best wishes


  2. 2 Michelle July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Wow, this is exciting ! I’ll be tracking Hamilton’s progress and hope that he finds a home and some other seals real soon. This is a wonderful service that our Aquarium provides. God bless you all!

  3. 3 Shirley Hewitt July 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I love a story with a happy ending. Thanks for all your efforts to allow Hamilton to go back to his natural environment. The Aquarium staff did a wonderful job. I saw the clip on the news, and it made me feel warm all over. Keep it up!

  4. 4 Dave July 14, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Thanks Michelle:

    Thanks for your post. We are very excited to see Hamilton back in the wild and are proud of our Marine Animal Rescue Program

    Dave Pittenger
    National Aquarium

  5. 5 Carly August 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Yea Go hamilton!

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