OCEAN CITY, New Jersey — A wayward baby seal spotted wandering down a roadway in Ocean City, New Jersey, is now safe thanks to the help of some good Samaritans and rescuers from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
The MMSC says it received the first of many calls around 5 p.m. Wednesday after the male gray seal pup hauled out from the bay at West Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets.
“MMSC’s Stranding Coordinator immediately responded as residents kept our team updated with the pup’s movements throughout the neighborhood,” the center said in a Facebook post.
After moving through a backyard and a sidewalk, the pup began traveling in the middle of 42nd Street, where witnesses say he had a “close call” with a car.
An officer from the OCPD blocked traffic as the “determined” seal continued down the road and crossed multiple intersections.
The seal was on the move for about 20 minutes, covering about a quarter-mile in the direction of the ocean. Video from witness Michael Trojak showed part of the seal’s journey.
The MMSC’s stranding coordinator caught the pup within about 100 yards of the beach ramp. The center said the seal, which is about four to six weeks old, was “quite exhausted” and underweight.
The pup was taken to the MMSC’s ICU and given a tube-feeding mixture of formula and an electrolyte solution for hydration.
The center said this is the second seal it has rescued from a roadway this season, saying it is a “good reminder to be careful driving in our shore communities, especially during coastal flood advisories as you never know what you may come across.”
The MMSC said it has had many cases of grey seals taking a wrong turn and wandering up beach access paths to backyards, parking lots and roadways.
“Typically, we see at least one case of a wayward pup stranding in an unusual location every seal season,” the center said. “These pups are born on islands, so when they get lost, their instinct is to keep wandering until they find a body of water.”
The MMSC asks everyone to have its 24-hour stranding hotline ready, “because you might need it when you least expect it!” The number to call is (609) 266-0538.
For more information about how to support the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, visit MMSC.org. You can also visit their website for more on what to do if you encounter a seal on land.
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