YORK BEACH — A harbor seal weanling is recovering from illness at the Marine Mammals of Maine facility in Harpswell, after it was rescued on Long Sands Beach last Friday afternoon — but not before causing quite a stir.
Police and lifeguards kept curious beachgoers away from the pup until trained volunteers arrived to assess the seal’s condition. It was subsequently found to have respiratory and other infections, said Lynda Doughty, executive director of Marine Mammals of Maine, and brought to Harpswell.
“Sometimes this age class develops infections and there can be other things going on as well,” she said. “This particular seal had respiratory and other kinds of infections. It is still fighting them.”
She said staff will monitor the seal’s progress “day by day,” providing medication and nutrition to help it heal. If everything goes well, it will be released in two or three months.
“Sometimes, though, when an animal comes in it’s initially doing well. But then something underlying presents itself. So the first few weeks are important,” Doughty said.
The seal attracted quite the audience on the beach, she said. There were “multiple calls” into the marine mammal hotline as a result. She praised police and lifeguards “for their extensive efforts in keeping this little guy safe until the response team arrived.”
This is the 234th stranded marine mammal treated by the organization this year — an uptick over recent years, Doughty said. She said as a result, Marine Mammals of Maine has used its entire animal care budget. For information about how to donate, visit www.mmome.org/donate.
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