Bethany Beach — A female gray seal pup sighted at Bethany Beach over the weekend got a lucky break when volunteers with the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute noticed she was underweight and suffering from a mouth injury.
The seal pup, dubbed Lily, was sighted on the beach the morning of April 4. Volunteers set up a watch throughout the day to monitor the little pup and educate the public. She stayed right along the water’s edge, but close-up photographs and binoculars revealed that she had an open wound on her mouth, and possibly other wounds as well.
MERR consulted with experts at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in New Jersey, who believed Lily had signs of a broken jaw.
Fixing Lily meant catching her first. She scooted back into the ocean after the rescue team’s first try, so volunteers retreated to the dune and out of Lily’s sight. The pup eventually returned to the beach and began to crawl into a rescue crate. It took a bit of coaxing to get her all the way in, but MERR spokesman Rob Rector said it was the most accommodating seal MERR has had the chance to rescue.
Local veterinarians were recruited for the first night of Lily’s initial treatment and stabilization. The next day, she was transported to the Marine Animal Rescue Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. There, Lily will receive long-term care while she undergoes further diagnosis and treatment, Rector said.
Lily’s injuries may include a broken jaw, Rector said.
“She has a long road ahead of her, and her prognosis is not yet known, but we will hope for a happy outcome for this beautiful little seal pup,” Rector said. “Special thanks to the community at Ocean Village for their support, and to the MERR volunteers who put in very long hours to help get Lily to safety. And again, to the Doctors Geibel for their willingness to help this seal in need.”