Posts Tagged 'harbor seal'

Animal Rescue Update: Goodbye Sodapop, Hello Eyegore!

Animal Rescue Update

The 2012-2013 seal season has been a busy one for our Animal Rescue team!

Last Thursday, we successfully released Sodapop, a male harbor seal that was treated for a severe respiratory infection. An animal release is always a cause for celebration for our department – we spend countless hours caring for animals in rehabilitation, and to be rewarded by seeing an animal return to its natural environment is a joyous event. Despite the rainy weather, we had a large group join us on the beach at Assateague State Park to say farewell to Sodapop!

harbor seal on the beach

At his release, we can only assume Sodapop had the following thought: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

After Sodapop was released, our team had just one seal in rehabilitation – Ponyboy, a male grey seal being treated for a wound to the left front flipper. Ponyboy has been doing great – his wound is healing well, and the veterinarians recently discontinued his antibiotics. He has been enjoying enrichment several times a day, but his favorite enrichment is fishcicles! Fishcicles are jumbo frozen treats with lots of yummy fish, and they are a refreshing way for the seals to enjoy their food. Fishcicles encourage natural foraging behaviors, and stimulate their minds and tactile senses – they are usually a big hit! If Ponyboy continues to improve, we hope to be able to release him in the near future!

grey seal

Ponyboy was not alone at our Seal Rehabilitation Facility for long. The day after Sodapop’s release, we admitted a juvenile grey seal from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team, named Eyegore the Maniac. Eyegore was initially admitted for rehabilitation on April 18th for a respiratory infection and severe infection of the left eye. After being stabilized at the Virginia Aquarium for about a month, he was transferred to the National Aquarium for long-term rehabilitation.

grey seal eyegore

Eyegore has a feisty demeanor, which is a good trait for a wild seal. His respiratory and eye infection have responded well to antibiotics, though he does have permanent scarring of the left cornea that affects his vision. Eyegore’s health is improving, despite his permanent visual impairment, and he actively enjoys lounging in his rehabilitation pool and interacting with enrichment..

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of these animals, including release details!

Blog-Header-JennDittmar

Our Rescued Harbor Seal is Ready for Release!

We have some great news from our Animal Rescue team! Sodapop, a male harbor seal (named after a famous 80s movie) that has been in rehab since February 15, is ready for release!

Sodapop after a couple of weeks in our Animal Care Center

Sodapop after a couple of weeks in our Animal Care Center

Upon admittance to rehab, Sodapop was emaciated, had a severe respiratory infection, and suffered cuts and scrapes to his face and hips. Sodapop was underweight at only 38 pounds when admitted, but now weighs a healthy 53 pounds.

While in rehab, Sodapop eagerly ate nearly 8 pounds of fish per day! He was on oral antibiotics twice a day to treat the respiratory infection, so staff had to hide the medication in the fish. Luckily, seals swallow their food whole, so it’s easy and stress free to get them their prescribed medications.

As you can see, Sodapop has filled out a bit in recent weeks!

As you can see, Sodapop has filled out a bit since his admittance to our facility!

We are busy planning the details for his release at this time. Want to get real-time, behind-the-scenes updates on Sodapop’s release? Follow our Stranding Coordinator @JennDittmar on Twitter!

Sodapop’s release is scheduled for this Thursday at Assateague State Park. If you’re in the area, join us on the beach for his release!

Stay tuned for more updates on Sodapop’s release! 

Animal Rescue Update: We’re Currently Treating a Second Seal

Animal Rescue Update

Staff with the National Aquarium Animal Rescue have been busy caring for two juvenile seals in rehabilitation.

The first seal, a harbor seal admitted on February 15, has been doing very well. While recovering from pneumonia and an upper respiratory infection, the seal broke out with sealpox lesions. Sealpox is a viral infection similar to human chicken pox. Staff monitored the seal closely during this time to make sure he received the proper nutrition, hydration, and rest that was needed. We’re happy to report that the sealpox lesions have subsided, and the seal has been quite active lately – an indication he’s likely feeling better.

seal

The second seal , a grey seal pup, was admitted on April 1 (Easter) and has recently shown a lot of progress. The grey seal was admitted for a significant injury to the left front flipper that affects a digit joint.

grey seal

Grey seal pups present a unique challenge to rehabilitation staff, because they often require to be ‘taught’ to eat solid food. Grey seal mom’s nurse their young for about three weeks, then usually abandon the pup. The pup is left to learn to eat, navigate, and be social all on their own. This little grey was no exception and challenged our staff – we were patient through the learning process and supplemented his diet with fish smoothies while he learned.

seal

I’m happy to say, that this little guy has come a long way and is eating his full diet on his own – a big accomplishment for a little grey! Veterinarians are treating the flipper injury and monitoring its progress closely.

Stay tuned for more updates on these guys! 

Blog-Header-JennDittmar

MARP Update: We Are Currently Rehabilitating a Harbor Seal

UPDATE: March 25, 2013

In an effort to keep our seal patient’s mind stimulated and encourage natural behaviors, our Marine Animal Rescue team provides daily environmental enrichment.

For today’s enrichment, our team decided to take advantage of the snow and bring it indoors. They filled the deck with clean snow and hid fish in the snow for the seal to find – kind of like a game of hide and seek! He was eager to eat breakfast!

snow seal enrichment

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: March 6, 2013

We’re happy to report that our harbor seal patient is doing very well! He is still being treated by veterinarians and husbandry staff for abrasions and a severe upper-respiratory infection. Since first arriving at our Animal Care Center, we’ve also been able to successfully increase the his diet to 5 ½ pounds of fish per day. We hope to continue to increase the seal’s diet, so that he can gain a little more weight!

Our next steps of treatment include another round of medications to ensure his system is free of infections and parasites. Once he is given a “clean bill of health,” our staff will begin discussing release options!

Stay tuned for more updates on our patient! 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team is currently caring for a juvenile harbor seal found off the coast of Delaware.

After being spotted and closely observed by our local stranding partner, MERR Institute, it was determined that the seal was in need of immediate care and rehabilitation.

Our harbor seal patient resting near its rehab. pool.

Our harbor seal patient resting near its rehab. pool.

Upon arrival at our Animal Care Center, Aquarium husbandry staff and veterinarians  performed a thorough exam, collected blood samples and began treating the seal for dehydration.

Initially too ill to eat solid foods, our seal patient was been fed a fish-based “smoothie.” We’re happy to report that the seal has now moved onto solid foods (its diet currently consists of capelin and herring fish)!

Staff is hoping that our patient will gain some weight and keep up a healthy appetite.

Staff is hoping that our patient will gain some weight and keep up a healthy appetite.

In addition to dehydration, we are currently treating the seal for pneumonia, parasites and a respiratory infection.

Stay tuned for more updates on our patient! 

Rescued, rehabbed and released

Last week, Hastings, a rescued harbor seal, was successfully returned to sea! With thousands watching—on the beach and through live coverage on WMAR-TV (Ch 2. in Baltimore) —Hastings made his way back to his ocean home on Thursday, May 13. He had spent four months under the care of our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) to recover from a wound under his front flipper and some other medical conditions. Watch a video of the release: 

Hastings was the 83rd animal released by the National Aquarium. He was fitted with a satellite tracking tag so we can track and monitor his progress,  and help scientists understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals. As of today he was in the Delaware Bay, headed North! Check it out!

MARP has nursed many stranded marine animals back to health, caring for them around the clock to get them back on their flippers or fins. But these animals need your help. Food, medicine and equipment can cost up to $200 per day for one animal. Simply stated, your gift will enable us to keep providing life saving medical treatment to some of the world’s most treasured animals, just like Hastings! Click here to donate today.


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 238 other followers