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.
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!
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!