A wayward grey seal pup who received a helping hand from Brick Township police officers earlier this week has returned home to the ocean.
According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, the pup was found to be 36-pounds and healthy when examined by veterinarians. The seal was discovered Monday by officers while trying to cross the lanes of Route 35 near Curtis Point Drive – a busy portion of the highway where it splits into two divided sections. The officers stopped traffic, allowing the pup to safely cross the road, after which the seal entered the backyard of a home on Ocean Avenue, where she remained under the watchful eyes of the officers and a local volunteer affiliates with the stranding center. A stranding technician arrived a short time later and took the seal into their care.
The center brought the seal to its headquarters for a check-up.
“Fortunately, she had no signs of injury or illness, and was not in need of rehabilitation,” MMSC said in a statement Wednesday. “On Tuesday afternoon, the healthy seal pup was released back into the wild.”
In its statement, the stranding center said in response to the news coverage of the seal’s visit ashore, many people had been asking why a seal might exit the ocean and find herself crossing busy lanes of traffic. As it turns out, grey seals seem to be particularly inquisitive and prone to such misadventures.
“We have had MANY cases over the past 45 years of seals, especially grey seals, taking a wrong turn and wandering up beach access paths to backyards, parking lots, and roadways,” the center said. “Typically we see at least one case of a wayward pup stranding in an unusual location every seal season. 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 Marine Mammal Stranding Center has a 24-hour call center that residents can call if they find a marine mammal stranded. The number is 609-266-0538.