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Gray seal relocates to World's End in Hingham

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 28, 2013 02:36 PM

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Photo courtesy of Hingham Police

The dog-faced gray seal pup, recognizable by its white fur and black spotted head tagged with an orange dot, has been seen three times in the last two weeks.

The gray seal pup that has been causing a commotion on the North and South Shore has now been spotted in Hingham.

The dog-faced gray seal pup, recognizable by its white fur and black spotted head tagged with an orange dot, has been spotted three times in the last two weeks -- in Rockport last week, in Hull on Tuesday, and most recently on a secluded Hingham beach Wednesday afternoon.

Although the seal has just been sunning itself and resting, well-intentioned onlookers have been causing problems by observing the animal too closely, officials said.

“This is exactly why we have to move these animals,” said Tony LaCasse, media relations director for the New England Aquarium.

On Tuesday, the seal swam out of the water and onto a beach in Hull, eliciting quite a bit of curiosity from locals.

The excessive attention from onlookers ended up putting the seal in distress, and the seal was moved for its own protection to World’s End in Hingham, LaCasse said.

The next day, the seal caught the eye of homeowner in the Crow Point area of Hingham, when the pup was seen sunning itself in a resident’s waterfront backyard.

“It had been there for about two hours and [the neighbor] was concerned that if it was there all night it could be hurt,” said Sergeant Steven Dearth with Hingham Police.

Hingham police went down to make sure the seal wasn’t injured and contacted aquarium staff.

Police soon discovered that the pup was the same seal that had caused a hullabaloo in Hull just the previous day.

“I was surprised when [aquarium staff] asked if it had an orange marking on its head and the officer said, 'Yeah it does,' ” Dearth said. “Of all the seals…”

LeCasse said the seal was in a much better location in Hingham as the area was secluded. When volunteers went to check on the animal Wednesday afternoon, everything seemed fine.

Neither Hingham police nor LeCasse had received any further calls about the animal and hadn’t been back to check on it. As long as people stay away from the area, aquarium staff shouldn’t have to intervene, LeCasse said.

“The problem isn’t the seal, it’s the people,” LeCasse said.


THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SEALS :

- Seals do not “strand” themselves, rather they often haul themselves out of the water to rest.
- People should maintain a distance of about 150 feet away from seals as to not disturb the animal, and people should restrain their dogs around the marine wildlife.
- There are three common seal species in New England, but often people see grey seal pips in the winter or yearling harp seals.

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