Virginia Aquarium Welcomes New Harbor Seal

Thursday, September 10, 2015

​The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center welcomes a new juvenile male harbor seal (Phoca vitulina).

The juvenile seal stranded in Deal, N.J., on Valentine’s Day with lacerations on its neck and puncture wounds on its back, possibly from a shark bite or boat strike. The seal’s injuries resulted in it being deemed non-releasable due to partial paralysis in its hind flippers. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J., rehabilitated the seal and the Virginia Aquarium staff transported him to the Virginia Aquarium yesterday.


“We are so happy to give this little seal a home,” said Rachel Metz, director of live exhibits at the Virginia Aquarium. “When we learned about his story, we knew that we had the facilities and room to help him, and that he would be an excellent ambassador for the work that our conservation department and stranding team does daily. As you may know, one of our elderly seals passed away this spring, and this new addition to our seal family will bring added enrichment to our existing four seals.” 


The seal will remain in quarantine away from the Aquarium’s iconic seals, Peter, Piper, Hector, and Norton, for about 30 days. This quarantine is for the safety of our seals, this seal and our staff. Quarantine procedures are used to ensure the overall health of any animals brought into the Aquarium.


The Aquarium is looking forward to hosting a “Welcome Home Party” for the new seal, as soon as it has cleared quarantine. We will also hold a naming contest for the seal, with more details announced in the coming weeks.

The Virginia Aquarium Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices. The Foundation was formed in 1981, three years before construction on the Aquarium began. Over the years, the Foundation’s role in support of the Aquarium has not only included garnering financial support to pay for the Aquarium’s exhibits, but it has expanded to include funding of education programs, and research and conservation efforts such as the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response and Sensible Seafood™ programs.