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Friday, April 20, 2018

From the Mystic Aquarium

It's Harbor Seal Pup Season!

It's that time of year when our Animal Rescue Team starts to actively prepare for harbor seal pup season further North. While we don't typically see pups along the shores of lower New England, the Animal Rescue Clinic opens its doors to rehabilitate abandoned pups - and other seals - rescued by organizations outside of its coverage area once their centers fill to capacity.
In most cases, seals spotted in Northern New England have simply hauled out to bask in the sun or tend to their pup. While it's common for a mother to leave her pup on a beach alone for a period of time, occasionally something goes awry and a pup is left abandoned and unable to survive on its own.  
That's when an animal care facility (like our Animal Rescue Program) steps in to help.
While the Aquarium's rescue hotline is relatively quiet during the spring, the Animal Rescue Team is readying its Clinic to receive 'new patients' from partnering rescue and rehab facilities. From checking medical supplies to cleaning the rehab pools and even providing refresher training courses to Clinic staff and volunteers, the team is on-call and ready for action 24/7.



Among the most commonly seen along New England shores, the harbor seal has the widest distribution of any other species of pinniped and can be found in the widest variety of habitats. Harbor seals tend to be gray to brown in color with a mottled spot pattern. Their heads are small compared to other seals (gray, harp, hooded) with a dip in the muzzle and a short forehead. 
Visit some of the Aquarium's harbor seals, including Bristol, Coral and Tori, at the Arctic Coast or Pacific Northwest exhibit.

Our Animal Rescue Program responds to calls along a 1,000 mile coastline - that's a lot of turf (or should we say 'surf') to cover! That's why it's important for you to remember these tips if you encounter a seal (or any marine mammal on the beach):
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the animal (NOAA recommends 50 feet)
  • Do not touch, feed or pour water on the animal
  • Note if the animal has any physical signs of injury or distress
If you think the animal is in need of help, call Mystic Aquarium's 24-hour hotline: 860.572.5955 x107. You'll be prompted to leave a message detailing your encounter allowing our animal care expert to respond appropriately.

Mystic Aquarium's Summer Camps run June through August and offer hands-on activities, up-close animal encounters, field trips and so much more for children ages 3 to 16.