Seals, seals everywhere!

Photo courtesy: Whale Center of New England

Over the past couple of weeks our department has been inundated with seal calls. The majority of which are juvenile harp seals. Because of the intense cold weather our northern visitors are hauling out and enjoying the frozen inlets and bays along the Massachusetts and New Hampshire coastline.

Photo Courtesy: Charles Benoit

These animals travel down from the Arctic and inhabit our area from late December through early April. Seals spend a good part of their life out of water. Pups are born on pack ice where harp seals will spend about two weeks with mom and the hooded seals spend only about 2 days!

Photo Courtesy: Whale Center of New England

They are extremely comfortable on the ice and do not get stuck. They are also opportunistic feeders so they do not need to eat every day. The seals will stay out on the beach anywhere from a tide cycle to 3 days.

All seals are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and as such can not be harassed, approached closely, or handled by people or organizations not allowed by NOAA. If you do happen see a seal enjoy the moment from a good distance and let the New England Aquarium stranding team know by calling our automated hotline at 617-973-5247.

This seal a juvenile hooded seal, was found in a playground far from the water. The rescue team relocated the seal to a beach that was more secluded so it could continue to rest. The orange mark on its head was put there as an identifier in case the seal came back up on another beach or in another region.

Read about the first local seal sightings here, and there's video of a previous successful seal rescue here!




Surgery at Gumbo Limbo

Here is a quick update on some of the turtles down at The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Last Tuesday January 26th Disney came down with a surgical truck to assist in the removal of papilloma tumors (learn more about these tumors here) of 35 green sea turtles.

Above you can see Dr. Mettee removing some tumors from the inguinal area of one of the 35 sea turtles that were operated on. The veterinarians were using lasers that cauterize as they cut. As described in a previous blog these tumors are highly vascularized, meaning they bleed a lot after being cut which is why using a laser is key.

Flushing an eye of an intubated turtles after a tumor was removed.

A pile of fibropapilloma tumors. (Photos taken by Phil Elmore Courtesy of Dr. Nancy Mettee)

Below are two videos that were shot by the team at Gumbo Limbo during the surgeries. Warning video is of surgical procedures they may be graphic to some viewers!

Last I heard all 35 animals are doing well and they are monitoring the sites of tumor removals. Hopefully all the turtles will make a quick recovery and be able to be released as soon as allowable.