NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Shoebert, a beloved gray seal that captured the hearts of those who spotted him in a land-locked Massachusetts pond, returned to the ocean Wednesday with the help of Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program.
The 4-year-old wayward seal was transported to Mystic Aquarium after he was found living in Shoe Pond in Beverly, Mass.
And it wasn’t the first time Shoebert had been rescued.
The seal was first brought to Mystic Aquarium as a pup in 2018, when he was found suffering from a severe facial wound and an infection in his hind flipper.
Shoebert was eventually treated and released, that is, until he was discovered lounging in a land-locked pond four years later.
Sarah Callan, manager of the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Program, said because of his distinct markings, her team recognized Shoebert immediately.
“Shoebert’s contributions expand far beyond the smiles he has brought everyone throughout his journey,” Callan said. “Obtaining data on Shoebert’s health and movements since his initial admit for rehabilitation in 2018 is a unique opportunity that is important in a world where ocean dynamics are changing at an alarming rate.”
Callan said her team evaluated him prior to his release and were thrilled that Shoebert was in such good health.
“The journey to get Shoebert back to his ocean home required a village,” Callan said. “Here at Mystic Aquarium, we feel honored to have been the last stop on his journey where he received a full health assessment and checkup before heading home.”
Shoebert was released in a remote location on Block Island near other seals after being fitted with a satellite tracker, which will help researchers learn more about seal ranges and habits.