Wednesday, July 8-Rehabilitated Seal To Return To Ocean

OCEAN CITY – The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will return a rehabilitated male harbor seal to its Atlantic Ocean home tomorrow morning.

“Hamilton,” as aquarium staff members refer to him, will be set off from the Delaware Seashore State Park, which is located just north of the Indian River Bay Inlet, about 10 miles north of Ocean City. Hamilton will be fitted with a satellite tag, so visitors can follow his movements on the National Aquarium’s website, www.aqua.org.

This seal was reportedly found on a Bermuda beach in late February and taken in by the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo to be treated for emaciation and deep wounds to his neck caused by fishing line. Seals are extremely uncommon in Bermuda, and this is only the fourth seal to be stranded in Bermuda since the 1870’s, according to the aquarium.

The Bermuda Aquarium contacted the National Aquarium’s experienced Marine Animal Rescue Program to take Hamilton for full rehabilitation, and thanks to a generous donation by Federal Express the seal was flown to Baltimore in March.

For more than three months, the National Aquarium treated the seal for abscesses and prepared him for release. The volunteers chose the name Hamilton after the capital city of Bermuda where he was found.

This is the 81st animal to be released by the National Aquarium. Formed in 1991 and staffed almost entirely by volunteers, the Marine Animal Rescue program has responded to hundreds of strandings, including seals, dolphins and endangered sea turtles, and to sightings of manatees, dolphins and other marine mammals.

For all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.

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