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The seal who was found on Clearwater Beach last month has officially been named Northlands — with Ruby Dill naming the seal after her granddaughter’s school — and Northlands will soon be traveling to the USA with the aim he continue his rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.
A Government spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs is pleased to advise that the juvenile grey seal [Halichoerus grypus] pup discovered on Clearwater Beach on Saturday, 18th February, has officially been named “Northlands”.
“The seal has done well through travel preparations, including another weekly physical examination on Friday morning [17th March] at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo [BAMZ]. He was found to be in good health and had gained another 5.5 lbs, making his current total body weight 43 lbs. Since his arrival, the pup has put on 16.5 lbs and is eating 6 lbs of herring daily. He has no clinical signs of disease, and his blood work has improved dramatically and is now in normal ranges for most parameters.
“BAMZ veterinary and husbandry staff, including trusted volunteers, continue caring for the seal daily to keep his environment clean and monitor him closely. While the pup lounges poolside, a small management team at the BAMZ works diligently with a host of partners to ensure his return to the United States.
“The seal cannot be released in Bermuda waters because there is no appropriate food fish for him here. Also, the Gulf Stream would create a significant barrier to his return to the grey seal colonies in the United States.
“On Thursday, 16th March, representatives from a host of Bermuda and US Government agencies met to determine travel plans and ensure all the correct permissions and permits are in place to send a protected marine mammal [and accompanying veterinarian] over international borders.”
“We are grateful to the United States Consulate General in Bermuda, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Customs and Border Protection, as well as the relevant Government of Bermuda Departments that have helped and waived fees where possible to expedite this seal’s eventual return,” said Dr. Ian Walker, Principal Curator of the BAMZ.
“In addition, we are thrilled and thankful to be working with the team from CargoJet and their partner Cedar Aviation for the flight portion of the transport. Once again, they have stepped up and donated their valuable services. Lastly, we are extremely grateful to Mystic Aquarium for agreeing once again to take our wayward seal into their Animal Rescue Programme to complete his rehabilitation back to the wild.”
The spokesperson said, “In preparation for the seal’s eventual departure, Mrs. Ruby Dill, the St David’s resident who found the pup on her morning walk, visited BAMZ recently with her family and some close friends. Like the majority of the BAMZ staff, they cannot get too close as the seal is still in quarantine, and BAMZ is limiting human contact to maintain as much as possible the seal’s “wildness”. This will be vital in helping the seal survive in the wild when he is released.”
Mrs. Dill said: “It was special finding him. I would like to name the seal “Northlands” after my granddaughter Nadia Dill’s school, which is a great school, and also thank BAMZ for taking such great care of our baby seal.”