VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — There's a new animal to check out at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center!
The new seal, who is just over a year old and has yet to be named, was welcomed to the Virginia Aquarium family on Friday after being rescued three separate times during his short life.
According to the aquarium, the little guy was previously in rehabilitation at the National Marine Life Center in Massachusetts.
Last September, he was released from the center but was unable to thrive. Therefore, the seal was readmitted.
He was released again in October but after nine days, he got caught in some fishing gear. The International Fund for Animal Welfare's veterinarian removed the lure from the seal and rinsed his wound in the field.
He was once again admitted to NMLC. Because he has spent so much time with humans and hasn't been able to thrive on his own, he has been deemed non-releasable.
Finally, on Friday, the NMLC and Turtles Flu Too transported him to Norfolk, where aquarium staff transported him to the aquarium.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for a young, stranded seal to begin a new life,” said William “Chip” Harshaw, Vice-President of Animal Care. “I am also hopeful that we can use his story to illustrate the importance of maintaining a safe distance from marine mammals along our beaches and shorelines.”
The little guy has been placed in quarantine to protect his safety, the staff, and the other two seals at the aquarium, Hector and Rudder. He will also begin behavior training.
From June 15 through June 25, the aquarium will host a naming auction for the new seal, where people can bid for the opportunity to name the new seal.
The aquarium said it will share updates on the seals condition and training on its website, Facebook, and Instagram.