The seal pup rescued from a Wells Beach in Maine on Wednesday is slowly recovering at Mystic Aquarium’s rehabilitation center in Stonington, Connecticut, according Marine Mammals of Maine (MMoME), the organization responsible for her rescue.
The baby seal is not out of the woods yet, Lynda Ada Doughty, executive director of MMoME, said.
“She is very skinny and unable to feed on her own,” Ada Doughty said, “which is why she is being given antibiotics, supplements, and fish gruel.”
Because the seal’s immune system is weakened, it could take a few months before she is released into the wild, Ada Doughty said.
MMoME has established guidelines when encountering a stranded animal in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which prohibits touching, feeding, disturbing, or harassing all marine mammals.
“During this time of year, because of the increase in human activity and interactions with wildlife, there is a rise in the number of strandings,” Ada Doughty said.
The rise in seal strandings between May and July coincides with pupping season, according to MMoME’s website. Newborn pups are most at risk for abandonment from their mothers if there is a lot of human activity near them.
Ada Doughty said to minimize stress, the public must remain at least 150 feet from the animal and never pour water on it. The organization’s website also states to keep pets away from stranded seals and to never move, feed, or cover them with a blanket.
“Often, it is simply well-meaning people taking matters into their own hands,” she said. “But people must be aware that young animals can die from the stress inflicted by human interaction.”
If you find a stranded animal, you can call MMoME’s hotline at 800-532-9551.