Ashley Stokes | NH Marine Mammal Rescue Team Coordinator
Yesterday afternoon while we were down in MA checking in on Amelia Sealheart (our harbor seal pup we posted the update on last night), we were also down there for another very special reason: Seal Armstrong, the grey seal pup that we rescued on February 21st from Fort Stark, was ready for release!
Because he was just a pup when rescued and hadn’t spent much time on his on in the wild, as well as a result of his aggressive personality, National Marine Life Center held a quiet private release for him at Scusset Beach. He is still only approx. 5 months old, so he wasn’t too sure about what was going on, and made it pretty clear that he was going to enter the water on his own terms. But he finally entered the water and each time he popped his head up, he was further and further away from the beach.
This was an exciting day for us, because this marked the first time that one of our rescued grey seals was successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild, since we initiated our program in 2014.
Here is a before and after comparison of Seal Armstong, the day of his rescue and at his release. It’s amazing the transformation he made!
As you can see in this photo, with only his hind flippers sticking out, he was neglectful to come out of the crate right away. He spent a few moments just looking around and taking in the sights and sounds, before beginning to make his way down the beach.
Love this photo! Armstrong got his flippers in the water and then turned back to rest on the beach a little while longer. In this photo you can see one of the differences between harbor seals and grey seals; the nostrils! Grey seals have larger, wider spaced nostrils.
This photo is a perfect example of why all marine mammal rescue organizations stress to the public to keep away from marine mammals. Not only is it against federal law to approach them, Seal Armstrong is a perfect example of the other reason; they are very aggressive and have large sharp teeth in their mouths, that carry a plethora of bacteria and will resort to biting when threatened.
As he entered the water, he turned and looked around, giving us one last time to snap a few photos before he disappeared in the water.
Once in the water, each time he popped his head up, he was further and further away!
Swim strong Armstrong!