RYE — Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue Coordinator Ashley Stokes and Field Volunteer Jen Kennedy from the Blue Ocean Society rescued a week-old harbor seal pup from Star Island at the Isles of Shoals on Tuesday.
The team’s initial health assessment led them to believe that the pup had not returned to the water since it was first spotted two days prior, and there was no sign that its mother was in the vicinity.
The pup was emaciated and dehydrated.
After reviewing the case with consulting veterinarian Dr. Gerry Beekman, Stokes made the decision to remove the animal from the island and take her to rehab at National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, Mass. Once on the mainland, Stokes and Rescue Assistant Sarah Toupin made the 2 1/2 hour drive to the Cape.
“With limited rehab space following the closure of the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation program, and longer drive times to the closest rehab facility, we face a tougher decision for choosing which seals should/can make the trek,” Stokes said. “We are monitoring animals longer now, to give the mother the opportunity to return and to see if the animal can survive on its own, without our intervention. This animal’s health was rapidly decreasing and she was extremely thin, we made the decision that she should be taken to rehab.”
The seal pup is approximately a week old and is now in the caring hands of the National Marine Life Center staff. She has been named Rose, after the first boat to go through the Cape Cod Canal. Rose weighed in at only 11.2 pounds and measured 67.3 centimeters long.
Stokes added, “For the animal’s safety, as well as for your safety, it is important to remember to stay away from seals and other marine mammals on the beach, and call our 24-hour stranding hotline to report all sightings, live or dead. The number is 603-997-9448.
To learn more about what you should do if you spot a seal or other marine mammal on the beach, go to seacoastsciencecenter.org.
Follow the rescue efforts of the Seacoast Science Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team on facebook (New Hampshire Marine Mammal Rescue) and keep up-to-date with Rose’s progress and hopeful release.