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Stranding Highlights

MERR’s facility, the young Harp was transported to the New York Marine Rescue Center the next morning. There he received hydration therapy and was monitored for a few days before being released back to the wild. 



MERR’s response team arrived at North Shores in Rehoboth on February 28th to find a young Harp seal hauled out on the sand. This seal was old enough to be independent from its mother and had unfortunately run into some trouble during its first year of fending for itself. This individual was consistently rolling around on its back, indicating a possible parasitic lice infestation, which warranted intervention and rescue from the team. 

A team of trained volunteers assisted a MERR staff member and Director Suzanne Thurman in the rescue, successfully crating and transporting the animal to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for rehabilitation. Named Prince after the musical icon by the staff at the aquarium, updates on the seal's progress can be found on their website Prince was successfully rehabilitated and released. 

Harp Seal 

On March 29th, MERR responded to a report of a seal on a dock within a gated community down in South Shores Marina. This Harp seal had been giving MERR responders a run for their money, having appeared on the same dock three other times prior to its eventual rescue. 

There had been discharge seen coming from this animal's eyes as well as some frothing exuding from its mouth. 

This rescue was tricky, as the floating docks where this seal was located were not the team's usual substrate. Docks provide an easy escape route for any seal, and lots of potential for responders to accidentally fall into the ice-cold water. A trained water safety volunteer monitored human well-being as we quietly corralled the seal into a crate, and after a brief overnight stay in 


With busy beaches over the summer, MERR saw first-hand how wildlife and humans can interact. On the afternoon of July 25th, a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was accidentally hooked by a recreational fisherman up on Slaughter Beach. Luckily for this little turtle, the fisherman knew not to cut the creature loose, and to call MERR.

After being transported to our facility, a raging storm came through the area, leading to the little one being named “Stormy”. Stormy had high energy and was not keen on spending the night with MERR’s response team, however removing the hook from his/her esophagus safely was not possible without surgical intervention, so Stormy was transported to the Virginia Aquarium and Science Center Stranding Program the next morning. The turtle underwent surgery to remove the hook, and successfully completed rehabilitation and was released thanks to the team of the fisherman, MERR, and the incredible team at the Virginia Aquarium. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered turtle species, making this rescue and return to the wild all the more meaningful. 


On September 15th, MERR received a report from a caller stating they saw a loggerhead swimming in circles upside down at Slaughter Beach. MERR dispatched responders immediately, and the response team soon picked up the turtle and brought him back to our facility. During examination, we noted that the turtle’s shell was covered in copious amounts of epibiota and he was emitting audible sounds during respirations. He also showed signs of abnormal neurological behavior. However, he had a decent body weight and was capable of holding up his flippers.

Since this little guy was going to stay the night, the team created a comfortable bed of rolled towels strategically placed under his plastron along with foam to ease pressure on his flippers. He was transported to the Virginia Aquarium early the next morning. Biscotti, named by the Virginia team, is currently on the mend.

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