Posts Tagged 'seal'

Animal Rescue Update: Eyegore Has Been Released!

Our last seal patient of the season, Eyegore, was successfully released this morning at Assateague State Park in Berlin, Maryland!

Eyegore was admitted to our Animal Care Center back in mid-April for respiratory and eye infections. He was also suffering from mild alopecia (hair loss). Although both infections cleared, he has permanent corneal scarring of the left eye (which has likely caused him to go partially blind). Aside from his vision problem, Eyegore’s healthy appetite and strong personality made him a great candidate for release!

Join us in wishing Eyegore the best of luck out in the big blue! 

Our Last Seal Patient is Ready for Release!

Animal Rescue Update

Our remaining grey seal patient, Eyegore, is doing great! Eyegore came to us for long-term rehabilitation about two months ago. He was initially admitted for a respiratory infection, an eye infection of the left eye and alopecia (hair loss).

grey seal

Eyegore’s respiratory and eye infections have cleared and his hair is regrowing in the areas around his neck and abdomen that were affected by the hair loss.

Eyegore coat before and after

Eyegore’s coat has come a long way since his first days in rehab!

While his eye infection has cleared, he has permanent corneal scarring of the left eye that is a result of the previous infection. A consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist revealed that Eyegore is likely blind in his left eye. Despite blindness in his left eye, Eyegore has a strong personality and appetite, which are great traits for a wild seal! He enjoys interacting with enrichment items, and his favorite is an orange sled that we fill with fish and ice.

Eyegore has been cleared for release, which our staff is now in the process of planning. We’ll be sure to keep everyone update as details for his release come together.

Be sure to wish Eyegore well on our Facebook page and follow Jenn on Twitter for real-time updates!

Blog-Header-JennDittmar

Rescued Grey Seal, Ponyboy, Has Been Released!

Earlier today, National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff and volunteers released their 99th rehabilitated animal – a grey seal named Ponyboy!

national aquarium grey seal release

The release took place on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland and was open to the public! Below are some photos locals captured of Ponyboy’s release:

After coming to our Animal Care Center three months ago with a severe wound to his front flipper and a respiratory infection, Ponyboy was given a clean bill of health last week.

This is the second of three seals that our Animal Rescue team has rehabilitated this season. Another grey seal, is still currently undergoing treatment for a respiratory infection. After being stabilized at the Virginia Aquarium for about a month, he was transferred to the National Aquarium for long-term rehabilitation in late May.

In the coming weeks, our Animal Rescue team is excited to announce that they will be releasing their 100th rehabilitated animal!

Stay tuned for more details on this exciting milestone!

Animal Rescue Update: Help Us Say Goodbye to Ponyboy!

Animal Rescue Update

Our Animal Rescue and Animal Health teams have been busy performing physical exams on our sea turtle and seal patients that last few weeks. We’re proud to announce that grey seal Ponyboy is ready for release! Ponyboy was admitted for rehabilitation on Sunday, March 31 (Easter) from Ocean City, MD. He required treatment for a severe wound to his left front flipper, and a mild respiratory infection.

grey seal

Ponyboy’s flipper injury was quite severe, though the cause of the wound is unknown. The injury healed well with minor surgery and routine wound treatment. Recent x-rays of the affected area indicate that the bone has healed well with no signs of infection, and Ponyboy is using his flipper normally.

grey seal

Ponyboy was named after the same character from the 1980’s movie The Outsiders, (this year’s naming theme is Bratpack movies)! He will be released just north of the inlet at Ocean City, Maryland on Wednesday, June 12 at 11 am. We’d like to invite our local community to join us on the beach for Ponyboy’s release!

If you can’t join us to person to say goodbye to Ponyboy, wish him well on our Facebook page or on Twitter!

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! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Save the Monk Seals

From Laura Bankey, Director of Conservation

I recently attended the National Wildlife Federation annual meeting. This is the one time during the year that all state affiliates gather to decide areas of focus for NWF in the future. At this meeting, conservation resolutions are proposed, debated, and voted on.

For this year’s consideration, the Conservation Council of Hawaii asked the National Aquarium to be a co-sponsor of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Resolution. We gladly signed on, and I’m happy to say the resolution was adopted by the affiliates.
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Photo credit: NOAA

With fewer than 1,100 individuals remaining, the Hawaiian monk seal is the most endangered marine mammal in U.S. waters. Monk seals are at risk due to entanglement in fishing gear and other marine debris, overfishing, inadequate marine protected areas, invasive species, canine diseases, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and intentional killing by individuals who view the seals as competition for declining fish stocks.

Monk Seal Entangled

A Hawaiian monk seal entangled in fishing debris. Photo credit: NOAA

The critical status of the Hawaiian monk seal warrants our immediate and prolonged attention. The fate of this species is intricately related to ocean health issues and to additional pressures we humans are subjecting to this animal and the delicate ecosystem it calls home.
We are calling for federal agencies to implement policies and funding mechanisms that will serve to protect Hawaiian monk seal habitat and promote the recovery and reestablishment of the species throughout its native range.

Gearing up for seal season

‘Tis the season for the East Coast to receive guests, in the form of seals. It is a spectacular sight to see these animals come and rest on our local beaches, but the Marine Animal Rescue team would like to keep you safe while you enjoy these animals. Please read over the following information on how to properly view these animals, and how you can help report a sighting or injured seal during this winter season.

Typically in our Mid-Atlantic region, we see four types of seals, including harp, gray, hooded, and harbor seals. These animals are semi-aquatic, meaning they can survive for lengths of time both in water and on land. When we spot seals on land, they are usually resting after long swims, or even warming up in the sunlight. They are generally solitary animals, but will haul out (on land) in larger groups as a survival tactic. Knowing when and where these animals are hauling out is important information for the Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) staff. If you would like to report a sighting in your area, feel free to contact the National Aquarium’s Hotline at 410-373-0083.

Along the Eastern Shore, the MARP team has first responders who are specially trained to assess an animal’s condition from a safe distance, and know how to approach the public to teach them more about these animals. The federal law states that “disturbing, harassing, or injuring seals is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.” It is very important that the public knows not to treat the seal like a domesticated animal. This includes but is not limited to feeding, touching, or approaching the seal. When pups are weaned from their mothers they are opportunistic feeders, and if the pup is not yet weaned and human interaction occurs, the mother may abandon the pup.

The most helpful thing you can do for the animal, regardless of the animal’s condition, is to stay at least 150 feet away from the seal and call the MARP hotline at 410-373-0083. Just as dogs will often growl if uncomfortable with humans in their presence, seals will emit a deep growl and show teeth–this means that you are too close to the animal. You should return to a safe distance and ask that others do the same. 

Once our staff and first responders are onsite, the animal’s health and behaviors are evaluated.  The team is looking for any signs of injury such as entanglement, sores or abrasions, open wounds, bleeding, cataracts, dehydration, and emaciation. If injured, the animal will already have a high level of stress due to the fact that it has stranded itself on the beach. Approaching the animal could increase stress even further, making the animal feel the need to flee the area, even when injured. This decreases the chances that the MARP team will be able to help the animal. So keeping your distance is very important for the health and welfare of these animals.

The best way to tell whether an animal is healthy and merely resting, or sick and injured lies within its posture. When a seal is lying in a “banana-shaped” position, the animal is simply resting and will more than likely return to the water when it’s ready.

If a seal is lying in a “bear rug” position with its stomach and head lying on the ground, the animal is in need of further monitoring and, potentially rehabilitation.

As a parting thought, the MARP team would like to remind everyone that it is never a good idea to try to approach, feed, or touch any wild animal. Wild animals, including seals, carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If you find a wild animal, the best thing to do is contact the appropriate authorities for information. We recommend starting with your local Animal Control officers. These are trained experts with knowledge of local species and connections to other wildlife experts for unusual cases.


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