OCEAN CITY — A female juvenile grey seal affectionately known now as “Luna Lovegood,” rescued from the beach in Ocean City, was admitted to the National Aquarium’s Animal Care Center last week and is on the mend, although she still has a long way to go.
Last Tuesday, the seal was found stranded and suffering from a case of pneumonia and lacerations which appear to be bite wounds. After a thorough examination at the National Aquarium, the Animal Rescue and Animal Care teams also diagnosed her with a case of lungworms and dehydration.
The rescued seal has been nicknamed Luna Lovegood based on a character from the Harry Potter series. Each year, the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) picks a theme for the dozens of marine mammals rescued up and down the east coast and admitted to the facility for treatment and this year’s theme is characters from the popular Harry Potter series. For example, several sea turtles rescued in the fall have been named from the theme including Harry, Hermione and Ron.
Thursday marked the ninth day of Luna’s stay in rehab and the National Aquarium is happy to report she is adjusting well to her temporary new home. Although she is still unable to eat on her own, with staff assistance she is receiving fish gruel through a tube several times a day and is healing and regaining strength.
Luna has joined another marine mammal, a male harbor seal named Phil who was admitted in April, at the National Aquarium’s rehab center. While the two seals are in the same general area, Phil and Luna will remain separated in different pools during their stays in rehab and the staff has been extremely careful to prevent any cross-contamination between their spaces. If all goes well, Luna and Phil will ultimately recover and be re-released into the ocean although there is not firm timetable for either at this point.