First sign of winter isn't snow for the Rescue team...

Hi all,

For the Rescue staff the first sign of winter isn't the cold or the snow, it's the arrival of the arctic seals. This morning I received a call from a local police department about a seal on the beach. As most of you know, seals are semi-aquatic and routinely rest on shore or on rock clusters along the coast. As long as we don't see signs of traumatic injury, significant weight loss, or signs of disease, seals are placed on a 24-72 hour watch. The length of the watch depends on the species, age class and overall visual health of each animal.

Arctic seals, like the adult harp seal in the photos below, appear on our beaches in the winter time. When they come out to rest they often stay out between 1and 3 days before moving on. As we have mentioned before on this blog, seals are opportunistic feeders and do not need to eat daily.
Some of you may remember the wayward adult harp seal that swam way up the Saugus River last winter and had to be collected and transported back to the ocean by our team - it was a bit of a media event.

And for those of you about to email us asking for the location of this animal...I'll save you the time. We never disclose the location of the animals until after they leave the area. If you've been following this blog then you will remember a little federal law called the Marine Mammal Protection Act that forbids people from approaching marine mammals. They come out to rest and they best way for them to accomplish that is to get a little peace and quiet. Please enjoy the photos though.

I "deputized " a citizen to do a close approach to obtain  photos so I could assess the animal's overall condition. The coloration on this animal is typical of an adult harp seal. Another caller notified me of this animal and mentioned that the seal "barked" at him. Harp seals are known to be very vocal animals. (Photo taken by Robert Sheridan)

This animal is bright and alert and currently not in need of medical attention. The animal will be checked twice a day for attitude, alertness and body condition.

- Connie

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