Spring Seal Guest and Sightings

Friday, April 17, 2015

​(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) – The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team rescued a “snow seal” last Friday from the shores of Corova, N.C. Like humans who winter over in warmer climates and in spring return to northern homes, seals are migrating north. Sometimes these seals stop on local beaches to rest. And sometimes they are too tired or sick to continue the journey. Such is the case with “Beetle.”

Beetle (think this year’s car make/model naming theme) is a young, female grey seal. She is being treated for malnutrition and dehydration with supportive care, which includes proper nutrition, hydration, and vitamin supplementation. Beetle is also being treated with antibiotics for a bacterial infection and some minor abrasions. The Team is cautiously optimistic that she will make a successful recovery.


In addition to Beetle, the Stranding Response Team reports that there have been a lot of seal sighting reports in the areas of False Cape, Back Bay, Sandbridge, and up along the Eastern Shore. Team Manager Maggie Lynott said, “As of right now, all of these seals have returned to the ocean on their own. However, we want to remind citizens that the best thing to do when encountering a seal is to keep their distance and call us.”


Additionally, citizens should not feed seals. Nor should anyone fish or discard bait in the water near seals. They are wild animals and feeding them not only allows them to lose their natural fear of humans, but it’s also illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Immediately report seal sightings to the Stranding Response Team by calling the 24-hour hotline, 757-385-7575.


When a live seal is reported, the Stranding Response Team evaluates the health of the animal. During this time, citizens may see a sign from the team or a member observing or photographing an animal. The team examines everything from the seal’s posture to its appearance to its movements.


For more details on how the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team monitors, responds, and occasionally treats seals, please visit http://virginiaaquariumblog.com/?p=241.


The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program’s mission is to promote the conservation of marine animal species through stranding response, research, rehabilitation and education. It is largely a volunteer-based group operating from the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center in Virginia Beach. The program is supported by the Virginia Aquarium Foundation through donations from the community and grant-making organizations.


                                                                # # #