STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Mystic Aquarium says this month starts its busiest season for seal sightings on local beaches.
The gray seal pup being rehabilitated at Mystic Aquarium is still a bit awkward while trying to feed on a fish. But that may be expected since he’s only about three weeks old.
The pup was found on a beach on Masons Island just a few miles away in Stonington. His mother may have been scared away by seeing people but the pup didn’t seem bothered at all as seen in a video taken by aquarium staff.
“He’s actually very itchy and molting this coat off right now so he’s on his back kind of moving back and forth right now,” said Sarah Callan, the Assistant Manager of the Animal Rescue Program at Mystic Aquarium.
She says this is gray seal pupping season so it is not uncommon to see these seals on the beach right now.
“That coat is so thick it’s actually really hard for them to swim with it on so when they are just born they are going to be on the beach and they should be nursing with mom,” said Callan.
If you see a seal don’t assume it is stranded and do not approach it. It is best to stay out of its sight and call the aquarium’s animal rescue team to respond. That’s what the folks on Masons Island did.
“They really stayed completely out of the view of the pup,” said Callan.
And so did the rescue team, which let it stay on the beach for a day and a half hoping the mother would return. She never did.
The aquarium is taking very good care of the seal but the rescue team would always prefer not to have to intervene and instead let the pup learn the ways of the wild from its mother.
“We will offer him live fish before he gets released just to make sure he has that natural instinct to chase that fish and go hunt on his own,” said Callan.
They believe the seal could have been on the beach for a week or so before it was spotted. Once it is ready to survive on its own it will be released.
The aquarium’s animal rescue hotline is 860-572-5955, extension 107.