Photo: National Aquarium

VIDEO: Rehabilitated Grey Seal Returned to Assateague Waters

A seal found in bad shape on the beach at Assateague State Park two months ago is now back in his natural habitat, fully recovered.

The male grey seal was rescued from Assateague on February 27 and taken to the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center in Baltimore. Nicknamed “Huck Finn” by Animal Rescue staff, the seal was extremely dehydrated, underweight, and had signs of wounds and infection.

On Wednesday, April 29, a “core team” from the Aquarium returned him to the same beach where he was originally rescued, and he wiggled his way back into the Atlantic Ocean. The Aquarium released this video of Huck Finn’s triumphant return to the sea (his big moment is around the 0:55 mark). Watch below:

Video: National Aquarium

Even though the National Aquarium closed its doors to the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the animal rescue team has continued providing critical care to its animals. The Aquarium says over the two months he was rehabilitated, Huck Finn gained more than 30 pounds, got stronger and improved his swimming skills and showed off a feisty personality.

He was in the company of another grey seal, “Pippi Longstocking,” who saved from Dewey Beach in early February with an infected flipper, malnourished and dehydrated. She’s still being treated by Aquarium staff, who say they look forward to when she can be released back into the ocean, too.

The National Aquarium reminds anyone who sees a seal–or other marine animal that appears to be stranded– not to approach it. Instead, note your location and time of day and immediately contact the National Aquarium’s Stranded Animal Hotline at 410-576-3880.

-Meg Walburn Viviano