St. Francis of Assisi


IMG_0141-compressed-webSo you may have heard that there was a seal release last Sunday, but what was Francis’ story?

Where did Francis Come From?

On September 6th, 2013 Francis the harbor seal was rescued from Moody Beach by Marine Mammals of Maine. He was then transferred to University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Program where he was stabilized and received preliminary care until his transfer to the National Marine Life Center on September 9th, 2013.

What was wrong with Francis?

Francis arrived with several lacerations on his sides and flippers, which we suspect were caused by either a boat strike or a shark bite. His  wounds were treated daily, and he was put on antibiotics, and tube fed three times daily until he started eating on his own. He quickly recovered from his ailments and was able to spend most of his recovery in the large seal rehabilitation pool.

Francis being tube fed in the dry holding room.
Francis being tube fed in the dry holding room.

How Did Francis Get His Name?

Francis was named after the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi by Ann Marie and Jim Zagzebski who purchased an ultimate animal adoption package at the Mermaid Ball.


For Francis, the recovery process was speedy. By the beginning of October 2013, all of his wounds had healed. Now all Francis had to do was gain weight; the goal was to have him at 25 kg for release (he came in at a weight of 16.7 kg). On October 15th, Dr. Williams, our veterinarian, gave Francis a clean bill of health and approved his release! We filed the appropriate paperwork with NOAA and Francis was on his way home.

The release was scheduled for October 27th 2013 on Scusset Beach in Sandwich.


Around 5 pm on Sunday October 27th 2013, NMLC staff and volunteers brought Francis down to Scusset Beach in Sandwich and he was returned to his ocean home.

Watch the video below of Francis’ release!