Harbor seal pup returned to ocean

Harbor seal pup
Carson, a harbor seal pup rehabilitated by Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium, glances at a photographer while moving down to the ocean at Blue Shutters Beach, Charlestown, R.I. (Photo by Marcos Valentin, WPRI-TV)

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — In freezing temperatures Friday morning, a harbor seal pup and some hardy animal lovers took to the beach, and the seal headed for the crisp, chilling waters.

Animal caretakers from Mystic Aquarium brought the seven- or eight-month-old female harbor seal, dubbed Carson, to Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown to get back to her natural habitat. A group in Maine, Marine Mammals of Maine, had rescued her back on June 10, 2013, when she was just around a week old. She’d been in care at Mystic for several months.

Carson, as others have done before her courtesy of Mystic’s caregivers, was hauled in a pet carrier to the sand around 10 a.m., while ten to twenty people of all ages watched, mostly bundled up against the cold. Two young spectators were in bright pink snowsuits. Hoods and woolly hats were in evidence.

But Carson had been chomping at the bit to get out onto the freezing sand. The door was opened, and she did not need to be told twice to winnow or galumph down the beach.

“Go, Carson, go!” called some spectators.

At water’s edge, the seal was inquisitive, perhaps with disbelief. The waves washed over her, and the water picked her up, bringing her up to float.

The small crowd’s gloved hands gave muffled applause to the seal’s return to the sea, as the seal’s head got further and further away, bobbing on the surf.

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