The birdshot stops here (Update)

In addition to turtles, the Marine Animal Rescue Team works with seals. We responded to an adult harp seal this morning in Manchester, MA. We monitored the animal for several days, and decided to collect him this morning. He did not re-enter the water after the usual resting period and appeared to decline in his activity and alertness.

The Aquarium and the Whale Center of New England staff and interns collected the seal from the marsh using boards known as herding boards. Herding boards are used to herd the animal into the kennel while protecting the rescuers from possible harm. Seals can be very agile on land and will defend themselves if threatened, trust me they can deliver a nasty bite!

This harp seal was transported to the Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation. Veterinarians at the Mystic Aquarium did a detailed physical exam including blood work and radiographs (X-Rays). They found rocks in the stomach and three birdshot pellets in the head - OUCH! This seal is being stabilized, and tucked in for the night as I write this blog. His prognosis is unknown at this time but stay tuned and we'll keep you updated.

Since it is illegal to approach, handle or harass seals in the US, we alerted the National Marine Fisheries Services regarding the birdshot in this seal. They will worry about the legal case, we will focus on the health of the animal.

- Connie

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