Seal Found On Del. Beach Recovering At National Aquarium

Seal Found On Del. Beach Recovering At National Aquarium
This seal was found on a Delaware beach last month suffering from dehydration and lice infestation. Photo courtesy of the National Aquarium

OCEAN CITY — A female harp seal rescued from the beach in neighboring Delaware is on the mend at the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center but is not out of the woods yet.

The harp seal was rescued in February and admitted to the animal care and rescue center at the National Aquarium in Baltimore for treatment and rehabilitation. The seal is the second this winter to be rescued from local beaches and admitted to the aquarium’s care and rescue center.

Each rescue season, the National Aquarium chooses a theme to name the various seals and other marine animals to come through its rehabilitation facilities and for this season the theme chosen is influential scientists. The harp seal admitted to the animal care and rescue center last week has been named Sally Ride, for the famous NASA astronaut and physicist and first U.S. female in space. The first harp seal admitted to the rehab facility in late January was named Marie Tharp for a famed cartographer and geologist who created the first scientific map of the Atlantic Ocean.

When Sally was rescued in neighboring Delaware last month, she was displaying signs of dehydration and a seal lice infestation. The National Aquarium team completed a full work-up of diagnostic tests upon her arrival at the rehab center including a physical exam and blood work.

As of midweek, Sally Ride was still in critical condition and has spent most of her time at the facility just resting. The seal hadn’t started eating on her own yet, but the aquarium team has been working around the clock to make sure Sally is getting the nutrients she needs through tube feedings and IV fluids.

The seal is also receiving anti-inflammatory medications and oral antibiotics as the aquarium team continues to keep a close eye on her progress. Meanwhile, Marie Tharp is improving each day and eating fish on her own. The harp seal rescued in January in Ocean City is also interacting with enrichment items such as puzzle feeders and is progressing each day toward an eventual release date.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.