Alfredo sauce was created in Rome in 1914 by Chef Alfredo di Lielo to feed his pregnant wife when she was having difficulty keeping food down. Our Alfredo arrived at MARC last night after it was found on a nearby beach (Bath House Beach, Biddeford, ME) looking quite lethargic and skinny. When he arrived at MARC, Alfredo appeared to be in a great deal of pain, which we assumed to be issues with the stomach. He was straining quite a bit and posturing in what are considered to be uncomfortable positions.
Male grey seals are typically dark with light colored spots, while females are light with darker spots. His coat has an unusual pigment – it appears mostly darker (like a male coat) but the belly, and shoulders are slightly lighter (like a female coat).
It wasn’t until closely examining Alfredo that we discovered that something was missing – his penile opening – and to our surprise…. Alfredo is actually a female!
There were some reports by onlookers on the beach that Alfredo had been munching on a bird carcass laying near her. This morning, when we arrived, we found nearly an entire bird mixed in with Alfredo’s feces – feathers, bones, even a whole heart. And so, the name Alfredo, derived from a meal intended to soothe a sore belly, is quite suitable to our seal with an upset stomach. Though it’s not uncommon for grey seals to have a varied diet, we hope that the fish we can offer Alfredo will be a bit easier to digest than the more feathered meals she was interested in.
Grey seals in the western North Atlantic are born between late December and early February. The females are typically 15-16 kg at birth (~34 lbs) and put on quite a bit more during the nursing process. Though Alfredo is a month or two old, she is a mere 19 kg (41 lbs)…not considered a healthy weight for a weaned pup. We hope that with some time at MARC, Alfredo will acquire a nice blubber layer and gain some basic survival and foraging skills that will suit her when her release time comes. Today, she already has more energy and is trying to pick up and eat fish on her own.
Consider contributing to the rehabilitation of Alfredo. MARC seals can be adopted at website.
*Photos by Kylie Galliani
**Photos by Samantha Burgie