When the New England Aquarium Stranding Response staff first encountered Shaq all of our hospital beds were full. Their staff relocated him to another beach where they hoped he would be left alone by bystanders to rest and recover. Unfortunately this was not the case, the following day he was being harassed by people and dogs in his new resting place and the aquarium staff checked in with us again to see if there was any way we could admit the animal. Our hospital was still full but we had an animal that had been approved for release by our vet staff that was just awaiting approval from NOAA prior to release. We called our NOAA regional coordinator for special permission to release that animal; Sealine Dion the following morning so we could accommodate this grey seal who needed to get off the beach!
Shaq was admitted to the New England Aquarium for overnight holding so that we could transition and prepare for our new arrival. We moved animals around, disinfected one of our seal pod units, and admitted Shaquille O’Seal on April 24, 2016. Upon admission he was dehydrated, had internal parasites, had an abcess on his belly, and hair loss due to the stress of his illness. He came to us very underweight at only 19.7 kgs (43 lbs) and was treated with fluid therapy, antibiotics, and anti parasitic medications
Now he is happily zooming around his pool and has packed on more than 5 kgs (11 lbs) during his rehabilitation, still sporting his bald head that will not regrow until his next molt. Shaquille O’seal is ready to get back in the game and is being released this Friday, June 10th promptly at 5:00 pm. The release will take place at Scusset Beach. We hope to see you there!