Lou-Seal settles in to new home in America
Bermuda's celebrity seal is doing well in her temporary home at an aquarium on the American East Coast.
American Daisy Dohanos, a frequent visitor to the island and author of the blog Smitten with Bermuda, has been keeping track of Lou-Seal, who was washed up exhausted and starving at Tobacco Bay in St George's last month.
She checked on the female grey seal's progress at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.
Lou-Seal, the first of her species recorded in Bermuda, travelled hundreds of miles from her North Atlantic habitat and made headlines when she reached the island on March 19.
The animal was rescued and nursed back to health at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. On April 10, the airline company Cargo Jet donated a flight to the Mystic Aquarium, which is home to a variety of marine mammals.
Ms Dohanos wrote in her April 29 blog that the seal's story “struck a chord in my heart, and rattled my curiosity”.
She added: “How did she wind up in Bermuda? Did she get caught in a current? Did she realise that she was astray?”
Ms Dohanos, who lives in Sag Harbor in New York, decided to research grey seals and take a trip to the aquarium to learn more.
Dale Wohlbrink, the director of public relations at Mystic, arranged for Ms Dohanos to pay a visit last week to the aquarium's Animal Rescue Centre.
Danielle Stone, Mystic Aquarium's animal rescue technician, took the keen blogger and photographer on a tour.
Seals are kept quarantined from humans to protect them from catching influenza.
Lou-Seal is being prepared for release back into the wild, so keepers at the aquarium keep their distance to stop her associating humans with food.
Ms Dohanos wrote: “The professionals at Mystic Aquarium cannot say how Lou-Seal wound up in Bermuda. Any speculation is merely that.
“Danielle surmised that perhaps she was simply ‘following food'.
“Sometimes, sea mammals will turn around when they reach water temperatures that are not their preferred climate — or they beach themselves.
“Yet, the veterinarian at Mystic does not believe that the waters around Bermuda were too cold in March.”
Ms Dohanos reported that Lou-Seal was “still underweight, but on the right trajectory”.
She said: “Having arrived at Mystic Aquarium at 211 pounds, her healthy weight is estimated to be between 300 and 350 pounds.
“Veterinarians will continue to monitor her weight, and do an ultrasound exam at her next check up to ascertain whether she is carrying a pup.”
The seal will be fitted with an electronic tracker before she is returned to the sea in the waters off Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fisher's Island.
Ms Dohanos added that Lou-Seal “definitely has an uncanny mystique about her”.
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