National Aquarium staff were joined by volunteers on land and the United States Coast Guard by sea at the Delaware Seashore 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!