A group of marine biologists in Suffolk County are working diligently to nurse a 12- to 14-day-old gray seal pup back to health after it was found on a Montauk beach 10 days ago with its umbilical cord still attached.
“The animal has a respiratory infection and a few fractured ribs,” Robert DiGiovanni, senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research, told Metro. “The baby seal is still in the critical stages, which can last anywhere from six to eight weeks.”
Our goal is to return it to the wild,” he continued. “One of our concerns is the animal’s diet; we are trying to match the mother’s milk with a gruel high in fish oil that we are feeding him by tube.”
The seal pup, which has not been given a nickname yet by the biologists, eats every three to four hours. He spends most of his time sleeping in between recovering in a hospital tank.
Seals have been making a comeback to the waters off Long Island in recent years, said DiGiovanni, and today can be found all the way from Montauk to Queens.
If you do happen to see a seal on Long Island beaches, remember to remain 50 feet back — it’s the law. “These animals are not aggressive but they are protected. Don’t touch them; call our 24-hour rescue hot line number and we’ll take care of it,” said DiGiovanni. Riverhead Foundation’s hot line is 631-369-9829.