Patient Update: May 15, 2020




Owl’s Head has fully lost his white lanugo coat, revealing his beautiful silver coat underneath. He is doing well in Dry Holding and has gained plenty of weight over the past few weeks in our care! Owl is routinely getting supervised swim time to build up his strength before going into deeper pools for longer periods of time, and additionally gets to go outside in his crate for some fresh air and sunshine, which he seems to enjoy. Owl is now on full strength Fish Gruel for his feeds, which is a transitional step in the process of learning to eat fish on his own. Once he has been on Fish Gruel for some time and builds his strength, he will be introduced to fish school to help pique his interest in eating fish! Harbor seal pups typically stay with their mothers for 3-4 weeks before they are left on their own, so it will take at least the same amount of time before they can start eating fish.

Owl’s Head in Dry Holding

Over the past week, we admitted our second premature harbor seal pup of the season! Bird, a female pup, was rescued and triaged by our friends at Marine Mammals of Maine before she was transported in waves due to COVID-19 restrictions per state. MMoME and our friends at Seacoast Science Center teamed up with our own crew to help transport Bird without breaking any state regulations!

Bird in her crate while she enjoys some sunshine outside!

Bird came to us primarily because she was born too early and was abandoned by her mother for reasons we do not know. She is very strong and had been doing so well, she was introduced to Owl in Dry Holding earlier this week, and they are now roommates!

Bird (left) and Owl (right) meeting for the first time!

On May 12th, we admitted two more harbor seal pups into our care–Cleveland and Ned! Cleveland came to us from Marine Mammals of Maine after being triaged for a few days, and Ned came to us from our friends at College of the Atlantic right from the beach he was rescued on. Both animals are maternally dependent and were separated from their mothers. Ned additionally came in underweight with an infected umbilicus, minor injuries to his face resulting in a swollen muzzle, was severely dehydrated, and has pneumonia. Cleveland was also admitted with hypoxia, meaning there was a lack of oxygen in the blood stream. Both are housed in Pup Room and are still in critical condition, but are responding well to treatments.

Cleveland when he first arrived at NMLC.
Ned in his crate upon arrival at NMLC.

This was a very big and exciting week for our team, as Quoddy finally started to eat fish on his own! After some tough love, Quoddy showed plenty of interest in trying to teach himself to eat fish. With the help of the fish being held by tongs, Quoddy was able to learn how to position the fish in his mouth correctly and eventually swallow on his own without any assistance. We are incredibly proud of his progress and are looking forward to putting him into one of our pre-release pools soon. He even caught some live fish that we occasionally introduce as environmental enrichment as well as testing the behavioral response of the patient to live prey.

Quoddy proudly showing off the live fish he caught!

Boon, our grey seal who crossed the road (twice!) earlier this year in New Hampshire, was doing very well in DJF over the past few weeks, packing on the pounds, as he got ready for his release day. On Thursday, May 14th, we said good bye to our fourth patient of the year at his private release! With ongoing restrictions due to the virus, this was another private release to keep both Boon and our team safe. But don’t worry, you can watch the entire release video on our Facebook!

Boon gazing out at the open ocean at his release.


There haven’t been many changes with our four Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, apart from the fact that they all have names now! Each year when sea turtles come into our care, they receive numbers that are put on their shells with non-toxic paint markers to help us identify each one. Unlike our seal naming theme each year, the turtles are named by sponsors, or as a gift to someone who has done something extraordinary for our team.

Our last unnamed turtle, #44, earned her name last week from our spring interns Lex and Nicole as a thank you for all their extra hard work this past session. Together, they named #44 Pascal!

Pascal during our weekly Veterinary “rounds”

Pascal, Tutis, Milo and Compass are all doing very well, and even enjoyed some fresh, restaurant-quality squid that was donated from a local Chatham fisherman recently. We are extremely grateful for our community and their effort to help us in times of need!

Be sure to keep an eye out for future Patient Updates, as well as other videos and announcements on Facebook and Instagram! And if you haven’t already, follow our brand new TikTok @nationalmarinelifecenter for some fun videos of our past and current patients. 

Inspired by our updates and interested in joining our team? 

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, Education, and Fundraising.

To find out more please click here.

Internship Opportunities:

We offer a Marine Animal Rehabilitation & Education Internship, as well as a Marketing Internship. Applications for our Fall semester are due by July 1st, 2020. For more information, please click here


Posted by Kim T. 

Kim is an Animal Care Volunteer who recently graduated from Bridgewater State University with a degree in Biology.