Injured seal aided by New London officers dies in clinic

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Mystic — An injured harp seal that two New London officers took to the Mystic Aquarium for treatment Saturday afternoon has died, aquarium spokesman Dale Wolbrink said.

Police said Animal Control Officer Kelly Duso and city Officer Deana Nott went to Ocean Beach around 1 p.m., placed the seal on a blanket stretcher and moved it to the back seat of the animal control truck.

Wolbrink said the seal was admitted to the aquarium's clinic but later died.

Wolbrink said workers will perform a necropsy on the seal at the University of Connecticut. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will get the results.

Wolbrink said the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Team has responded to three other harp seal sightings in the region since Feb. 1: one on Eastern Point Beach in Groton, one in Niantic and one on Greens Harbor Beach in New London.

All three seals swam back into the water and were deemed healthy, Wolbrink said.

Wolbrink encouraged residents who encounter seals to call Mystic Aquarium's 24-hour hotline at (860) 572-5955, ext. 107.

Mystic Aquarium is the only agency authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to handle seals in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, N.Y., Wolbrink said.

He offered the following advice:

  • Give seals plenty of space.
  • Keep pets away from seals.
  • Do not pour water on, feed or otherwise attempt to help seals.
  • Take note of whether the seal has physical signs of injury or distress, such as eating sand.

l.boyle@theday.com

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