National Aquarium Takes in Another Wounded Seal

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Photo via the National Aquarium

A second seal in distress has checked in at the National Aquarium’s animal rescue center in Fells Point after being found stranded in Ocean City late last month.

The grey seal pup, nicknamed Luna by aquarium staff, came into their care on May 23 after she was discovered suffering from pneumonia and apparent bite wounds on her body. Staff at the Baltimore aquarium’s rescue facility also diagnosed her with lungworms and dehydration after an examination.

An update on the aquarium’s blog says Luna has adjusted to her rehabilitative environment and is being closely monitored. The team has been feeding her fish gruel through a tube several times daily, as she’s unable to wolf down any food on her own.

Jennifer Dittmar, manager of animal rescue for the aquarium, said Luna is “doing good — exactly as well as we would expect of an animal of her size and condition.”

She’s gained some of her energy back in the last few days, Dittmar noted. Staff are now waiting to see how the seal pup responds to the antibiotic therapy she’s receiving for the bacterial infection in her lungs.

 

Luckily, she has at least one relative nearby. In early April, staff rescued a harbor seal nicknamed Phil after he was found suffering from dehydration in a muddy trench of a river in Delaware. Rescuers said he swam 12 miles inland, presumably from the Delaware Bay.

Monitors found Phil with limited mobility and struggling to find food. Two rescuers from the aquarium responded with others and promptly brought him back to Baltimore to recuperate.

Phil is doing better and has been eating plenty, the aquarium said in an update last week. However, he’s still recovering from an eye injury and is suffering from a neurological issue.

Despite the clear opportunity for companionship, aquarium staff said Phil and Luna “will remain separated in different pools during their stays in rehab,” in part to prevent any cross-contamination between their recovery spaces.

Dittmar said the rescue center has two enclosures, which means they’re now at capacity for rescued seals.

The animal care center is set to move next year to a new $20 million facility currently under construction in Jonestown. Aquarium officials have promised it will be able to house a number of rescued creatures, with more public visibility than its current space, when appropriate.

State officials issued a public warning today to keep an eye out for stranded creatures this summer. Visitors to the state’s coastal waters from past years have included seals, bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead turtles and even humpback whales.

“It is important that the public understand that some of these animals are protected by law and should be treated with care and compassion,” Cindy Driscoll, a fish and wildlife veterinarian with the state Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement.

Those who spot stranded sea dwellers are asked to call the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Program at 800-628-9944, take measurements and photos, if possible, and stand by until staff arrive on the scene.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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