The National Aquarium's Animal Rescue team is currently caring for a gray seal pup rescued from Dewey Beach. The gray seal is now recovering at the Aquarium's Animal Care and Rescue Center.
Every rescue season, the Aquarium chooses a naming theme for incoming rescue seals and turtles. For the 2019-2020 season, the naming theme for rescue seals is famous storybook characters. In line with this theme, the Aquarium's new rescue patient has been nicknamed Pippi Longstocking.
Pippi the seal was rescued on February 8 in a coordinated effort with the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR) out of Delaware. Upon her arrival to the Animal Care and Rescue Center in Baltimore, the Aquarium's Animal Health and Rescue teams immediately got to work running tests and performing diagnostics to learn more about Pippi's condition.
They determined Pippi was dehydrated, malnourished (underweight) and appeared to have an infected front flipper. Pippi is now receiving fluids to aid with rehydration, along with anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics to fight off any infections.
The Aquarium's Animal Rescue team estimates Pippi is about one month old as she still has a small amount of lanugo, baby fur found on gray seal pups. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), gray seals begin shedding this fur around 3-4 weeks of age.
The National Aquarium's Animal Rescue program is responsible for responding to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles along the nearly 3,190 miles of Maryland coast and works with stranding partners through the GARS Network to help respond, rescue and release animals year-round.