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Baby seal set to be flown to US ahead of release

A grey seal pup discovered at Clearwater Beach (Photograph supplied)

A lost seal pup discovered at Clearwater Beach is well on the road to recovery and is expected to be flown to Connecticut to be readied for release.

The spring edition of the EnviroTalk newsletter, published by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the Mystic Aquarium had agreed to take on the young grey seal.

The same aquarium previously assisted with the successful recovery and release of Lou-Seal — a grey seal found at Tobacco Bay in 2019.

Roma Hayward, animal care and quarantine officer, said: “The northeast grey seal has a cold temperate to subarctic distribution in North Atlantic waters over the continental shelf and range from Massachusetts up the east coast to Canada.

“Grey seals tend to wean their pups between 16 and 21 days of age. We suspected that this guy had recently been weaned and was making his way in the ocean, learning how to hunt fish on his own.”

The juvenile grey seal was first spotted by Ruby Dill at Clearwater Beach on February 18, and was found to be weak, malnourished and dehydrated.

Since he was caught, the seal has kept in quarantine at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo where a small team of staff have worked hard to feed and care for the animal.

Ms Hayward said: “This involves first teaching him how to eat fish and gradually increasing meal frequency to three feeds per day, regularly weighing him and collecting blood samples to make sure he is making good progress.

“BAMZ veterinarian and curator Ian Walker and the animal care team at BAMZ has years of experience with marine animals and strandings.

“This little guy is in good hands, eating six pounds of fish a day, gaining weight, and generally doing well.”

Ms Hayward said BAMZ was grateful for the report it has received from the public in their efforts to help the seal prepare for a return to the wild.

“We would like to thank our volunteers who have assisted with the seal feeds and tank cleaning, Laquita Minors from the Queens Club has provided several meals for the seal, CargoJet, and various government agencies have assisted in the process of getting this little seal back to where he belongs,” she said.

“This includes the US Consulate General, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We would like to remind people that if you come across a seal on a beach or shoreline to keep your distance. It is important to remember that even a resting seal is a wild animal.”

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Published March 20, 2023 at 7:35 am (Updated March 20, 2023 at 7:35 am)

Baby seal set to be flown to US ahead of release

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