This past week has been fairly busy in the field now that pups are here. We have transferred two pups to the University of New England (UNE) Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center this last week. The first one was a pup in Winthrop. I actually was playing field volunteer that day and went down with one of our interns to assess the animal in the morning. The seal appeared to be resting on the beach. A few wounds were noticeable and the seal was quite thin, but overall behavior was decent.
The harbor seal pup during our morning observation.
We went back to check on the seal in the afternoon and there was a noticeable decline in behavior. The seal's posture was poor (laying flat) and I noticed the right rear flipper was swollen, among other things. I decided to collect him and he was transferred to UNE.
You can notice the difference in posture from the morning pictures and these afternoon pictures.
The second seal was down in Duxbury this week and it had multiple wounds. It had been going in and out of the water and moving to different locations on the beach. The wounds were a bit concerning for us so the next day when he was spotted, the Duxbury Animal Control Officer and one of our field volunteers were able to kennel him for us. I then met them and did an exam on the seal. Most of the wounds were infected, his breathing was poor, and he was very lethargic. He was also transferred to UNE for care.
In the photos above you can see some of the wounds and the discharge from the nostrils of the seal pup in Duxbury.
Seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal to touch, harrass, or alter their normal behavior in any way. For information on what to do when you see a seal on the beach, check out Adam's post from last year. And remember to call our stranding hotline 617-973-5247!