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An Arctic Seal in Florida?

By rob13     May 8, 2007 in Environment
The natural habitat for an arctic seal is the North Pole; however, this poor seal appears to have wandered a bit off course as it was spotted in the waters of the coast of Florida just south of the city of Stuart.
One has to wonder if this seal will be considered a ‘snow bird’ as most visitors from the North are commonly known in Florida.
Dr. Christopher Dold, a staff veterinarian at SeaWorld, said SeaWorld is currently treating an arctic seal that was spotted off the South Florida coast. Dr. Dold said this bearded seal was thin and dehydrated, but the seal was quietly resting and responding to touches by staff members.
Rescuers had to use 2 nets in removing this 6-foot-long seal from a canal that was located in a residential area. This seal was spotted on Thursday, and the researchers were not able to rescue this miss-directed 250 pound seal until Monday. The veterinary staff at SeaWorld is planning to rehabilitate this seal so the seal can return to its natural habitat in the North Pole.
Blair Mase-Guthrie, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's stranding coordinator, said scientists are not sure what caused this seal to travel so far off its normal beaten path. Mase-Gutrhie said it is possible this seal may have been caught in an unusual current, or maybe it got caught up in the moment and forgot were it was while hunting down prey.
Blair went on to say bearded seals are known for traveling long distances, and that these seals are used to only salt water and not a salt and fresh water mix that makes up the canal were this seal was rescued.
Rescuers hoped to catch this seal on Saturday, but despite looking and acting sick, this seal was able to elude rescue attempts until Monday when it was finally caught.
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