Ashley Stokes | Marine Mammal Rescue Coordinator
We responded to, and later rescued, our first harbor seal pup of the season on April 23rd. After a quite month for the hotline, this seal was reported during the peak check-in chaos, just before the start of our Rescue Run: Race for Marine Mammals 5k. Luckily, Rye police officers were already on their way to take preliminary photos and keep people away from the pup until we could get a field responder down there.
The pup, who was only 24-36 hours old when first reported, was found during a shore cleanup at Rye Harbor State Park. She still had her full lanugo (white) coat, teeth buds that had barely begun erupting from her gums, and a 5” long pink fleshy umbilical cord remnant, and was vocalizing for mom. (Harbor Seal pups are normally born mid-May through mid-June.) We monitored her throughout the day to give the mother the opportunity to return to retrieve her pup, and checked again early the following morning. The pup was still there with no sign of mom having returned.
We made the call to request a spot in a rehabilitation facility and National Marine Life Center (NMLC) inBuzzards Bay, MA was able to accept her. Now, after a week of receiving care at NMLC, her status remains as guarded because she is so small. She is responding well, however, and even being introduced to swimming! She learned the hard way that she needs to keep her nose and mouth shut when swimming, but after being helped by her human life guards a couple of times, she is learning that swimming can be fun!
Special thanks go beach clean up crew that spotted the pup and to our MMRT volunteers who helped monitor her before her rescue. Check back for updates on the pups progress.
If you spot a seal on the beach in New Hampshire, dead or alive, remember, keep back and call our 24/7 Marine Mammal Rescue hotline at 603-997-9448.