MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) -- Folks at Mystic Aquarium are usually among the first called when someone spots a stranded seal or injured sea turtle, but now the Seal Rescue Clinic at the Aquarium may be in need of help itself.
Most of the work is done behind the scenes, rehabilitating injured or stranded animals like one gray seal with a cut on his front flipper.
"That's right in the same area where he was entangled in some fishing line," said Janelle Schuh, stranding coordinator.
Scooter is also recovering from a cracked tooth and there are four harbor seal pups, just three to four weeks old.
"One of them still had his umbilical cord still attached," said Schuh.
It's necessary work to keep the federally protected marine animals along with endangered sea turtles alive.
However, News 8 discovered the rehab clinic needs help itself to survive. This year it didn't receive the highly competitive Prescott Grant which provides $100,000 to pay for more than 80 percent of the clinic's operating costs. We also learned that federal grant may be endangered as well.
"There's talk about it being de-funded in the next fiscal year," Schuh said.
So the aquarium is putting on a fundraising party, "Seals on the Rocks."
Among the silent auction items is a chance to ride along with the next seal release and open the cage.
One of the seals is getting a little aggressive, as gray seals tend to be. On his left arm there is a slash on his flipper. That's actually a good thing if he does become aggressive because that shows he's healing.
Without the program, many of the seals could go untreated.
"There would be really no marine mammal or sea turtle response for Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Fisher's Island, NY.," said Schuh.
No other facility is permitted to do so.
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