National Aquarium releases rescued seal

Hastings treated for severe injuries and illness

May 13, 2010|By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun

Hastings, the injured harbor seal rescued in Ocean City in January, returned to the Atlantic waters this morning after months of rehabilitation.

The seal was tagged with a satellite transmitter before his release on the beach in the Ocean City inlet in front of a crowd of onlookers. The transmitter will allow scientists to track him and learn more about migration and feeding patterns.

When Hastings was released, Aquarium spokesperson Jen Bloomer said, "He looked around a bit … then he spotted the water and headed toward it. His head was up as he went through the waves. And the Coast Guard watched over him to make sure he didn't come back to shore."

The National Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Program took in the juvenile seal, which had severe lacerations to his flipper, an upper respiratory infection and a mild case of pneumonia. He was also severely dehydrated and underweight, the aquarium said.

Rehabilitators used antibiotics for several weeks and treated his wounds. On a diet of herring and capelin, he put on 20 pounds and began playing with the seal equivalent of toys.

"We're confident he was completely rehabilitated," Bloomer said.

Meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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