CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A gray seal that was found malnourished with severely injured on Block Island has finally returned to the ocean.
Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program released the female gray seal at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown Tuesday.
The five-month-old seal, named “North,” spent six months in rehabilitation before her release.
North was found stranded near the North Lighthouse in late March, according to the aquarium. At the time, the aquarium said she weighed only 40 pounds and was suffering from severe wounds all across her body.
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Throughout her recovery, the aquarium said North gained an impressive 55 pounds, putting her over 90 pounds at the time of her release.
North was equipped with a satellite tag so the aquarium can track her movements, according to the aquarium. The tag will remain on the seal until she undergoes her first molt.
“When a seal is admitted into the Animal Rescue Program, we do everything we can to give each animal a second chance at life,” Animal Rescue Program manager Sarah Callan said. “Often, that opportunity for an animal is made possible due to the collaborations that occur along the way.”
“In this particular case, collaborations within the Block Island community were vital in getting this animal the care she needed,” she continued. “While we can’t track all seals, we are excited to see this animal’s movement post-release and have this opportunity to contribute important data on local seal populations. Despite this seals previous condition, we are optimistic about her future.”
In addition to the satellite tracker, North was also equipped with a flipper tag as a more permanent means of animal identification.
The tags on North will contribute data towards various conservation and research projects, according to the aquarium.