Harbor Seal "Hopper", Tag # 39392
The story of "Hopper"the harbor seal, is yet another example of the excellent sense of teamwork that is alive in the Northeast Region Stranding Network. "Hopper", a female juvenile harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), stranded on the beaches of the Virginia Beach, VA on February 10, 2004. Military personnel in the area found the animal, who was, as they say "hopping" around on the beach. The seal appeared outwardly to be in emaciated condition, which prompted the Virginia Marine Science Museum Foundation Stranding team to into action, retrieving the seal from the beach and transporting her back to their facility in Virginia Beach. The seal spent 15 days in rehabilitation at the Virginia Marine Science Museum stranding facility before being transported to the Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) at the National Aquarium in Baltimore for more long-term care. While under care at the Aquarium, the seal was treated for heartworm and seal lice, among other ailments. Fortunately, the seal was able to eat whole fish from the beginning of her rehabilitation without much problem, eating voraciously and gaining almost 40 pounds during her stay at the MARP facility.
Finally, it was time for release. The MARP team transported the healing seal up to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Preservation and Research facility in Riverhead, Long Island on June 15, 2004. "Hopper" was quite calm during the 6-hour transport to Long Island, and proved to be an excellent patient during the two days at their facility. At the time of release, she weighed a whopping 78.6 lbs, and was fitted with a spot-4 satellite tag by the MARP team from the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She was released from Shinnecock Bay beach, NY on June 16, 2004. The release was a collaborative effort; including members from MARP and the Riverhead Foundation all there to wish her well as she returned home to the sea.
Map of "Hopper"
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