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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dill manages to find his way home

Mystic Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue returns healed seal to the sea
Words and photos By Will Collette
Waiting for Dill

Thursday morning at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, it looked like I wasn’t the only one in town who got a head’s up about Mystic’s latest seal release. 

A good sized crowd where almost half were small children came out on a chilly, damp morning to watch the Marine Animal Rescue team help Dill, a one or two year old male harp seal, find his way home.

Dill have been found marooned at Cape Elizabeth on the Maine coast and was sent to Mystic where he was treated for dehydration and a stomach parasite.

Now fit and a healthy 80+ pounds, Dill was ready to be set free.

I’ve seen a number of Mystic’s seal releases and they never get old. The team knows what it’s doing and they efficiently set up the beach release site to allow an easy and safe path to the water for the animal, as well as safety and good viewing for the humans.

When they first brought Dill out onto the beach in his carrier, he looked raring to go although he had to wait while the staff explained how he came to them, how the Marine Animal Rescue program works and the protocol for the release.
With help, he turned himself around

As Dill fidgeted in the carrier, he somehow turned himself around so his butt was facing out. When the carrier was opened. When it was time to go, Dill was in the embarrassing pose of wanting to leave, but not knowing how to turn himself around.

The staff helped him out by tilting the carrier to help Dill work it out 

Like some seals I’ve seen at these releases, he was a little surprised at the crowd and took his time getting down the beach as he checked out all the people.

"Do I really have to go?" Final appeal denied.
That was nice for all of us because we could get a good look at him – he is an especially handsome seal.

I was especially glad to see all those little kids get to see such a wonderful creature. 

And the adults, too, because no matter how many times I have watched these releases, there's always a sense of joy. I usually find myself next to first-timers who often express that joy.

The surf was running and the tide was coming in so he also took his time working his way out to sea. 

Sometimes seals just simply disappear into the water as soon as they enter the surf, but Dill stayed near the surface for quite a good long time, often looking back, as he headed out in the direction of Block Island.

Mystic runs a commendable program which is clearly the best in New England – evidenced by how often stranded and rescued sea animals are sent to them for rehabilitation.

Cathy and I are proud Mystic Aquarium members and support this program. If you would like to do that, too, click here.