This male harbor seal pup was brought to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, Mass., on May 12 severely dehydrated, with an infected umbilicus and pneumonia. He has been named Ned.  ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Seal rescued and brought to national center

BAR HARBORA harbor seal spotted at Indian Point Blagden Preserve on May 6 was seen again on Mother’s Day, rescued the following day and has been brought to Massachusetts to recover.  

Employees of the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, Mass., have named the male harbor seal Ned. Updates on his condition can be found on the NMLC site at  

On Mother’s Day, John Kelly, who is the management assistant for Acadia National Park, was taking a walk with his wife, Heather, at the preserve and came upon the seal. 

“It started to approach us and [was] crying for help,” Kelly wrote in an email to the Islander. “We called Allied Whale, and Rosie said she would check it out the next day to allow the mom time to reconnect.” 

Rosemary Seton is a marine mammal stranding coordinator for College of the Atlantic. When Heather Kelly went back the next day, the seal pup still appeared to be stranded. Seton met Kelly at the preserve and brought the pup to her car. She sent Kelly an updated text message about what happened to the seal, who was on his way to becoming Ned.  

In the text, Seton explained how she had put the seal in a carrier in her car and took him to Northport to a veterinarian’s home. An external exam was performed by the veterinarian, with the help of her husband, and the seal was stabilized with fluids that evening and the next morning.  

At 4:20 a.m. on May 12, Seton retrieved the seal pup and drove him to the New Hampshire border.  

“Just inside Portsmouth, I met up with New Hampshire volunteers who took the pup from me,” Seton wrote to Kelly. She mentioned there was no contact in the transfer. “They just lifted him out of my carrier and put him into theirs and they took him (plus another seal pup from the Marine Mammals of Maine) to the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border where more volunteers collected the pup in our seal relay and took him to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay by Cape Cod.  

“They are fantastic there so he is in good hands!” Seton added. “He is stable right now and they have named him Ned.” 

In an update posted on the NMLC website, they talk about admitting two harbor seals on May 12 from Maine. They are naming seals after lighthouses, according to one of the center’s attendants in a video posted on the center’s Facebook page.  

Ned came in underweight with an infected umbilicus, minor injuries to his face resulting in a swollen muzzle, was severely dehydrated and has pneumonia, the excerpt on the website stated.  

“Seal pups don’t have to stay wet,” the center’s attendant explained in the May 16 video about Ned and his Maine counterpart, Cleveland. They need shallow water, she continued; too much water can make them tired. 

Maternal separation can occur because of human interaction, the attendant explained in the video. To keep seal pups safe, people need to stay 150 feet away from them. 

“Stay back from them if you want to be a hero,” she said.  


Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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