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National Aquarium Releases Gray Seal Huck Finn Back to His Natural Habitat

Despite Continued Closure, Animal Rescue Team Advances Mission Critical Work

A core team of Animal Rescue staff traveled to Assateague State Park the morning of April 29 to release successfully rehabilitated rescued seal Huck Finn back to the Atlantic Ocean. The National Aquarium's staff remains dedicated to providing the highest level of animal care and welfare as well as advancing mission critical work despite its temporary closure due to COVID-19.

Huckleberry Finn, nicknamed in line with this season's rescue seal naming theme of storybook characters, was originally rescued on February 27 from Assateague State Park. Upon his arrival to the Aquarium's Animal Care and Rescue Center, the Animal Health and Rescue teams determined he was extremely dehydrated, underweight, and had external signs of wounds and infection.

During Huck's two months of rehabilitation he gained more than 30 pounds under the care of the Aquarium team. Additionally, Huck grew stronger and improved his swimming skills. While the staff will miss watching Huck and fellow rescued seal Pippi interact like siblings, they know he is ready to return to his natural habitat and that his feisty personality will serve him well.

Animal Health and Rescue staff continue to provide care for gray seal Pippi Longstocking and look forward to when she can also be returned to her ocean home.

The National Aquarium's Animal Rescue program is responsible for responding to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles along the nearly 3,190 miles of Maryland coast and works with stranding partners through the GARS Network to help respond, rescue and release animals year-round.

It's important to note that if a member of the public sees a stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, the person should not touch or approach the animal, or allow other people/pets to do so. We ask that you carefully note your location and time of day and immediately contact the National Aquarium's Stranded Animal Hotline at 410-576-3880.

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