BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Found stranded on Rehoboth Beach last month, a harp seal nicknamed Sally was weak, dehydrated and covered with parasites.
A second harp seal named Marie was in similar condition when found in Ocean City in December.
Both are now recovering in quarantined rooms at the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center.
“They’re sort of like the teenager seals, so they’ve separated from mom and on their own for the first time, and they tend to get into trouble.” said rehab manager Kate Shaffer.
Medicine and vitamins go into whole herrings, easier than the IVs and feeding tubes when they first arrived.
But it took patience and work to get a whole fish down.
“We went through a process called assist feeding, where we’ll actually place the fish in position in the mouth and help the animal learn how to swallow a whole fish,” Shaffer said.
The seals aren’t the national aquarium’s only patients. More than two dozen sea turtles are also being cared for, after a cold snap stranded them on the Maine coast.
When well enough they’ll be released in warmer weather.
Marie is also nearing a return to sea.
“She’s now eating on her own, which is really exciting news and progressing well in her rehab.”
Sally still has a ways to go, but like earlier seals saved by the National Aquarium, it’s hoped both will make their way back to the ocean this spring.