Harbor Seal "SAND DOLLAR", Tag # 44861
The Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) released a young harbor seal on Tuesday, March 15. The seal, named Sand Dollar, was outfitted with a satellite tracking tag and its movements are being monitored.
The seal is the first ever released on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Harbor seals live in cool climates, and New Jersey is home to the most southerly your-round population on the east coast. However, these seals often travel further south, and during the winter they are regular visitors to the Delmarva Peninsula.
Sand Dollar's injuries were sustained in waters near Virginia Beach, Virginia on January 3, 2005, and scientists agree that releasing this and other animals in the regions where they strand often makes sense.
Stranding and Rehabilitation
The seal was less than one year old when she stranded. Malnourished and dehydrated, she had experienced traumatic injuries to the left side of her head, neck, and eye.
Scientists and caretakers from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center were the first to respond. A month later, she was transported to Baltimore for the MARP team to provide care.
Before the seal could be released, an ophthalmologist evaluated her eye and determined that there may be some minor vision loss, but not enough to prevent successful hunting once returned to the wild.
After completing an extensive rehabilitation, MARP staff took further steps to ensure that the animal would be able to hunt on its own and survive once released. For three weeks, the seal successfully hunted live fish that were put into the facility where she was housed.
More Information from NAIB.
Map of "Sanddollar"
More seal data is available in the current WhaleNet Listserv 39393. Sort and go to FIND for "39393" entries.