Patient Update May 13th


Patient Update: 5/13/19 

Welcome back to the National Marine Life Center’s Patient Update! As this is our first update of 2019, I’d like to kick things into gear by trying out something a little different from the previous patient updates.

We have been very busy this year with the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) continuing on from 2018, with our remaining turtle patients from the 2018 cold stunning season, open houses and events, transports and releases, and incoming seal patients going through extensive rounds of tests for a virus related to the UME. We are still gearing up for our 2019 harbor seal pup season, this time last year we had our infamous preemie Charlie, so be sure to follow along on social media as we could be getting in our first pup anytime soon!



Patronus, our first seal of 2019, was our first hooded seal in NMLC history! She was found stranded in Gloucester, MA by Seacoast Science Center (SSC) on 1/5 and was admitted to our hospital within a few days. Patronus came in with parasites and severe dehydration. Patronus was released privately on 2/25 in Rye, NH with a small team of NMLC and SSC staff.

Patronus at her release

Patronus is currently available for a symbolic adoption on our website


DID YOU KNOW? Hooded seals live primarily on drifting pack ice and are native to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic. We see them, along with harp seals, down here in New England during our cold winter months.


On Wednesday 4/24 we had our second seal release of 2019 and said goodbye to two of our harp seals, Mandrake and Buckbeak, as well as our harbor seal Jones.

Spring interns Kaitlyn Reed, Kali Palmer, and Sarah Burton open the crates for Mandrake, Jones and Buckbeak at their release


As some of you may know, Jones originally came to us late last May as a pup, and was released in November with a satellite tracking device due to his inner ear infection: Otitis media. Jones restranded in January in Old Orchard Beach, Maine and was picked up by Marine Mammals of Maine before being transported back to our care. He was found to have a heavy parasitic load, wounds on his face and side, and continued to show symptoms related to his inner ear infection. After three months of care, Jones was deemed re-releasable when his canalography showed an improvement in his ear infection. He was more than eager to head back out to the big blue!

Pings from Jones’ satellite tag


Mandrake, our first harp seal of 2019, came to us at the tail end of February. He was found looking lethargic on the beach in New Castle Commons, NH and was then brought in to us by our friends at the Seacoast Science Center. Upon admit, Mandrake was found to have a heavy parasitic load, severe dehydration, and despite being a yearling he was showing no interest in eating fish. With a little help he quickly remembered how to eat on his own and started making progress towards his release. 

Mandrake during his rehabilitation at NMLC

Mandrake is currently available for a symbolic adoption on our website.


DID YOU KNOW? Seals don’t drink any water! They, along with other marine mammals, have what is known as a “reniculate” or “multi-lobed” kidney which helps them to not only remove toxins, but also to obtain water from their food


Buckbeak, a juvenile male harp seal, came to us on 3/12 primarily due to parasites, particularly lungworms. He was rescued by Seacoast Science Center from Seabrook, NH and was able to be transported to us within the same day. He was treated for his parasites and some minor oral trauma and was soon ready for his April release.

Buckbeak at his April release, eager to get back out to the ocean!




On 2/23/18 we admitted 32 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, and 1 cold-stunned loggerhead. With one Kemp’s ridley already in house (Etta, who was released 2/20/19) this brought our total turtle count to 34! So far we have done three turtle transports/releases, bringing our number back down to 3!

How do transports work? Turtles who are ready to be released are decided on by our vets and animal care staff, we then drive them down to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD where they stay for a few nights. The National Aquarium then drives them down to Florida where they are released.

Two of our Kemp’s being released in Florida


Current Patients:


Ladybug, one of our many cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, originally stranded on Campground Beach, Eastham, MA on 11/17 and was brought to us by the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) on 11/23.

Ladybug, Kemp’s ridley

Tunbridge, a Kemp’s ridley, was brought to us by NEAQ on 11/23 due to cold stunning and pneumonia. As of this week, Tunbridge is still showing possible evidence of pneumonia which we can see through the use of radiographs (x-rays), but is otherwise in good health.

Tunbridge, Kemp’s ridley

Scuttle, another Kemp’s ridley, was brought to us by NEAQ on 11/23 due to cold-stunning and a fractured right radius and ulna. Scuttle is swimming well but we are giving the bones more time to heal before release. He is one of only three turtles left and we are aiming for a local summer release, stay tuned!

Scuttle, Kemp’s ridley. Wondering what the number is on his back? It’s how we tell them apart!

All three of our turtles are available for a symbolic adoption on our website!


DID YOU KNOW? “Cold stunning” refers to when a sea turtle is exposed to cold water temperatures for a long period of time, thus decreasing their core temperature, heart rate, and circulation, resulting in lethargy, pneumonia, and sometimes necrotic tissue or death.



Hagrid, a male grey seal weanling, was our first grey seal of 2019. He stranded as a pup in Newbury, MA on 2/28 and was brought to us by Seacoast Science Center with some of his white lanugo still present. Hagrid came to us underweight with a severe tail injury (not to be confused with his flippers) that ultimately resulted in an amputation. His tail amputation has healed nicely and he is eating fish on his own. Hagrid is now in our large pre-release pool and his final step is to get to appropriate release weight! 


Hagrid’s radiographs (x-ray) of his back flippers and tail injury upon admit to NMLC
Hagrid when he first arrived to NMLC, you can see at this point some of his white lanugo was still present

Hagrid is currently available for a symbolic adoption on our website.


*WARNING: graphic images to follow*

Madame Olympe Maxime is a very important patient for the public to pay attention to! Madame, a female grey seal weanling, stranded on 4/23 in Amagansett, NY and was rescued by Riverhead Foundation. She was transported to our care and admitted on 4/25 with a high fever, heavy parasitic load, wounds scattered across the body, and most importantly a severe entanglement wound on the neck due to monofilament (fishing line) and rope

Madame Olympe Maxime has a few deep wounds on her left front flipper that are believed to be bite wounds from a canine species. She was found to also have an infected nail when it began to bleed profusely shortly after she was admitted. The bleeding was caused by an underlying abscess that has since been removed and is showing signs of improvement.

Madame’s infected nail prior to treatment


Additionally, Madame Olympe Maxime is suffering from severe eye trauma on her right eye. Her largest wound is the strangulation wound around her neck from the fishing line which will take a great deal of time to heal. Since coming in, Madame Maxime’s fever has subsided and she is successfully eating fish on her own but she needs to build up her strength. She has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

Upon admit, Madame’s nail began to bleed profusely and pressure needed to be applied immediately.

DID YOU KNOW? Monofilaments take upwards of 600 years to decompose and entanglements impact all marine species across the globe including but not limited to: seals and other pinnipeds, whales, sharks, sea turtles, and seabirds.


Fang, a male grey seal weanling, came to us from the Seacoast Science Center on 4/26. He was first observed on Salisbury Beach looking very lethargic and thin. He was monitored for two days before being collected in Newburyport, NH and transported to NMLC. 

Fang hauled out on the beach before being rescued by SSC

Upon admit he was found to have a heavy parasitic load and pneumonia. Fang has begun treatment for his parasites and is responding well. We are hoping to get him interested in eating fish on his own as soon as possible!

Fang will soon be available for a symbolic adoption on our website.



Interested in joining our team?

Internship Opportunities:

We offer both a Marine Animal Rehabilitation & Education internship and a marketing internship. Applications for our fall semester are due by 7/1/19. Click here for more information. 


Volunteer Opportunities:

We offer a wide range of volunteer positions in various departments. This includes but is not limited to: animal care team (18+), junior animal care (14+), administration, and fundraising.

To find out more please click here.


Did you like how this patient update was done? Let us know in the comments!


Posted by Kali P.

Kali is a spring intern with a Chemistry degree from Salem State University and a background in marine biology.