MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — The Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Clinic released a rehabilitated gray seal back into the sea on Thursday in Charlestown, Rhode Island.
Kiwi, the young seal, was found in poor condition off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Jan. 25. She was thin, malnourished, and suffering from an infection.
A spokesperson for Mystic Aquarium said Kiwi was just four or five weeks old at the time of her rescue and only weighed 27 pounds.
Kiwi had a two-month stay with the Animal Rescue Clinic and received individualized veterinary care and quality nutrition. Kiwi managed to double her weight during her stay. The clinic felt she was healthy, and it was time to return her to the wild.
“It was amazing to witness how quickly she bounced back. Working alongside the veterinary and animal care staff, who pour their hearts into this job, and then seeing firsthand the recovery of these stranded seals… it really is the best part of the job,” said Alexandra Cojocaru, Animal Rescue Technician.
A crowd gathered to watch Kiwi’s return to the ocean at Blue Shutters Beach. Despite initially hesitating, Kiwi left her crate and waddled down the beach into the ocean. To the crowd’s delight, Kiwi popped her head out of the water before swimming off.
Sarah Callan, the Animal Rescue Program manager, expressed her gratitude toward everyone who contributed to her successful rehabilitation.
“It was great to see everyone from the community come out to join us today in celebrating this seal going back to her ocean home. People may have noticed that she dawns a satellite tag on her back that will help us collect valuable data on her movements to learn more about the gray seal population in our region, and we look forward to seeing where she goes,” Callan said.
The Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program has led marine rescues for 40 years. The program responds to stranded marine mammals and turtles within 1,000 miles of Connecticut and Rhode Island shorelines and the coast off Fisher’s Island, New York.
Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program aims to rehabilitate and release marine animals into their natural habitats to ensure survival.