National Aquarium - Hamilton Animal Rescue

Hamilton's Story


This adult male harbor seal originally stranded on the beaches of Bermuda on February 15, 2009. He was severely underweight and dehydrated, and suffered from a monofilament line entanglement around the neck.

Staff at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo admitted the animal to their facility for rehabilitation, and were able to get the animal back on track to health by removing the monofilament line entanglement.

The animal required long-term rehabilitation, and was transferred to the National Aquarium on March 24, 2009. FedEx graciously donated a flight for the animal, who was accompanied by a veterinarian from the National Aquarium.


While in rehab at the National Aquarium, the seal, named Hamilton after the capital of Bermuda, gained nearly 80 pounds and was eating as much as 10 pounds of food a day!

In addition, he was offered enrichment items to interact with, including his favorite: fishcicles!


Hamilton was released on July 9, 2009, at the Delaware Seashore State Park, between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach.

A small crowd of onlookers gathered to wish him well, and Hamilton knew exactly what to do. He sprinted (as fast as a seal can sprint) toward the water and hung around the area for about five minutes before taking off.


Prior to release, Animal Rescue staff affixed a satellite transmitter to his back, which falls off when the seal molts (similar to when a dog sheds its fur).

The transmitter allows us to track and monitor the animal post-release, and will help scientists to understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals. Learn more about the importance of animal tracking here.

From July 9 to July 31, when we received the last satellite transmission, Hamilton traveled more than 1,138 miles!

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