Stranded Harp Seal in Fresh Brook Marsh
23 January 2001 (morning)
Last nights high tide brought an ailing harp juvenile seal
into the Fresh Brook marsh northeast of Doctors Hill.
Seemingly well nourished, this pup was
nonetheless unresponsive to my approach. Blood traces were observed in
each location where the seal had moved across the snow covered marsh.
Closer examination revealed no wounds; the blood had exuded from the
mouth. Small amounts of whitish fluid gurgled from the
Doctor John Kelly of Eastham was gracious enough
to evaluate this seal at his animal hospital; he decided that it was not so far
gone as to be euthanized. At the request
of the Mammal Stranding Network, he administered 200 milliliters of nutrient
solution by stomach tube. Encountering some initial resistance, Dr. Kelly
x-rayed the seal, but found no blockage.
After treatment, this harp seal was returned to
the salt marsh near where it was spotted this morning. The original
location is frequented by coyotes, foraging at low tides, and the channels in
Fresh Brook do not provide easy access back to the bay. The seal now rests
on the banks of Black Duck Creek several hundred yards southwest of the
Lieutenant Island Bridge. Well check on her overnight progress in the