BALTIMORE — After getting lost this winter and ending up across the southern part of the country, gray seal pup Edwin Hubble now has a new home in Baltimore.
Edwin is now resting and recovering at the National Aquarium in Baltimore after unexpectedly turning south this winter and going to Virginia Beach, Hilton Head, Mrytle Beach, and other places across the east coast. Usually seals live in coastal area from Canada to the Northeastern coast, but he was first found in Virginia Beach on February 28, clearly lost and alone.
At Virginia Beach, Edwin was tested and treated and then released on March 3 at a haul-out site with other seals, hoping he would naturally find his way back home. Then on March 13 Edwin was found on Myrtle Beach resting, and then turned up on March 19 at Hilton Head, South Carolina.
We kept hoping it would turn north on its own,” said Ainsley Smith, NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region’s acting marine mammal stranding coordinator. “We started discussing options when the seal was spotted in Hilton Head, and when the seal was seen in St. Augustine, Florida on March 21, it became clear that this seal was lost and needed help.”
Edwin was then captured and taken to Sea World in Orlando where he was assessed and given fluids. He then was transported to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine on March 22 for additional fluid therapy, and then finally to the National Aquarium in Baltimore on March 23.
“Stranded animals provide a window into the health and ecology of wild populations,” said Mark Swingle, Director of Research & Conservation for the Virginia Aquarium. “This little gray seal has provided a very unusual story to add to our understanding of the welfare and movements of seals in the most southern part of their range.”
Edwin's travels are done for now as he calls Baltimore his new home.