Tangled Seal Rescued on St. Pat’s

A 50-pound gray seal that had become entangled in a piece of gill netting was rescued on Saturday, a little after noon, on the shore between Georgica and Main Beaches.
“He is lucky that he was found when he was,” Charles Bowman of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said of this seal, which had been entangled in gill netting. East Hampton Village Police

A 50-pound gray seal that had become entangled in a piece of gill netting was rescued on Saturday, a little after noon, on the shore between Georgica and Main Beaches.

East Hampton Village police responded after receiving a call from a Lily Pond Lane resident who had been walking along the beach and noticed the seal in distress. The officer dispatched to investigate found the seal above the tide line, near the dune. The officer, Christopher Hansen, contacted the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, sending them images of the seal from his cellphone. The netting the seal was trapped in appeared to have broken off from a larger net, or perhaps from a fishing line, East Hampton Village Police Sgt. Matthew Morgan said Monday. 

According to Nicole Valenti, a coordinator for the foundation, a two-person rescue team was dispatched to the beach. The team reached the seal on foot, then transported it back to the truck in a crate. From there, the seal was taken to Riverside, where it was freed from the netting in the foundation’s treatment room.

Charles Bowman, president of the foundation, said Monday that while the seal had not suffered any cuts from the netting, he did have a high white blood cell count. That may have been caused by internal injury or infection brought on by the seal’s struggle, he said. The National Fisheries Institute was notified about the incident, which was classified as being caused by human interaction. “He is lucky that he was found when he was,” Mr. Bowman said.

Seals rescued by the foundation in 2018 are being given names of different flavors of ice cream, Mr. Bowman said Monday. 

Dublin Mudslide, a Ben and Jerry’s flavor, is the moniker the seal has been given, Ms. Valenti said yesterday. The name was chosen because it was found on St. Patrick’s Day. “He is very active, and is eating on his own,” she said. His white blood cell count is still high, and he has been put on antibiotics. 

When the seal is back in good health, he will be released into Shinnecock Bay, where there is a thriving seal population.