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.