Final Release of 2017 Pup Season: Giseal and Leo!

giseal bundchen

Giseal Bundchen and Sealonardo DiCaprio Released

Here at the National Marine Life Center, we rehabilitate and release stranded marine mammals and sea turtles in order to advance science and education in marine wildlife health and conservation. During the summer, we often receive several harbor seal pups, who were abandoned by their mothers and are unable to fend for themselves.

On October 17th, we released Giseal Bundchen and Sealonardo DiCaprio!

Giseal and Leo were rescued because they had been separated from their mothers. This happens for a number of reasons, including human interaction. Harbor seal moms leave their pups on the beach to rest while the moms go offshore to feed. Sometimes well-meaning interference by humans who think the pup has been abandoned can scare the seal mom away permanently, and thus cause separation to occur. The public is reminded to stay at least 150 feet away from any beached seal.

At the time of their arrival, they were considered maternally dependent, meaning they could not survive on their own. NMLC staff and volunteers had to teach Giseal and Leo how to swim and eat fish, as the pups’ mothers were not present to teach them these critical life lessons.

Giseal stranded on June 9th on Chebeague Island, ME and was rescued by our friends at Marine Mammals of Maine. Giseal has an ear infection known as otitis media and has undergone multiple treatments. She even had a CT scan at Tufts to ensure that this infection did not spread to her bone. Luckily, she was approved for release! This release was very exciting for us at NMLC, as we satellite tagged Giseal. This tag allows us to observe both where she is and how deep she can dive. We are very much looking forward to seeing how Giseal is doing out in the great big ocean on her own!

Sealonardo stranded on Great Spruce Head Island, ME on May 25th. He was rescued by College of the Atlantic at only 12 pounds. Leo was always a little runt, but as soon as he learned how to eat fish, he grew very quickly. Leo had a very big personality that is already missed in the hospital. We are so proud and happy that we were able to release Leo and Giseal at the same time.

Giseal and Leo were the final two pups from our 2017 summer pup season. While we are sad to have an empty nest, we are happy that they are free to thrive in the wild and make some room for the incoming cold-stunned turtle season. Thank you to the wonderful volunteers and NMLC staff who made this moment possible!


Posted by Megan R.
Megan is a Summer 2-Fall 2017 Animal Care Co-op. She is in her fourth year studying Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Northeastern University.