Udon and Junior Mint – Release Recap

March 3rd, 2013 by Shannon

In what might hold the record as “Longest release in MARC history”, Yesterday’s Release of Udon and Junior Mint was a total success.  An estimated 100 people came to give the seals a great send-off.  While Udon (the harbor seal) was quick to bolt to the water, his counterpart Junior Mint (the harp seal) was a tad hesitant – taking well over 40 minutes to make her way to the water.

Harp seals are typically an animal that, at  the earliest sign of threat, “play possum” or become “catatonic” – freezing their whole body as a line of defense to trick their “threat” (in this case, dozens of excited witnesses on the beach) into leaving them alone.  It is a completely normal and expected behavior for harp seals, though, sometimes, it can make the releases a little lengthier.  Junior Mint was a bit nervous with all of yesterday’s excitement and rather than fleeing the scene quickly, she exhibited the typically harp seal catatonic behavior.

Junior Mint "playing possum" - Catatonic Behavior is normal for harp seals.

Here are a couple photos to recap the event.  To see the full album, check out our album on facebook.

Udon heads to the shore.

Junior Mint slowly making her way to the sea

Save.the.date: Seal Release 03.02.13

March 1st, 2013 by Shannon

 

Junior Mint heads back to sea tomorrow.

We’re doing it again!  Join us THIS Saturday to say goodbye to a few good seals!

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Date:  Saturday, March 2, 2013
Who?  Udon (the harbor seal) and Junior Mint
(the harp seal)
Time:  4:15 pm
(Be there early!)
Blubber Hits the Water at:  ~4:16 pm
(Blink and you’ll miss it)
Location:
  Gilbert Place, on Biddeford Pool, Biddeford, Maine (as you enter Gilbert Place, veer to the left for public parking) Get Directions

Please drive carefully, mind speed limits and be respectful of the neighbors.  Thanks!

What to Bring:

  • Cameras
  • Good Vibes
  • All encouraged but not required.

 

UNE/MARC is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization that operates the only Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle rehabilitation program in Maine.  Each year MARC treats roughly 100 animals.  For information about UNE/MARC, to adopt an animal or to become a member, please visit us on the web at www.une.edu/marc, or call us at 207-221-4228.  Donations are always welcome.

New Patient – “Sno-Cap”

February 13th, 2013 by Shannon

Yesterday afternoon, the MARC hotline rang.  This is the phone that our friends at organizations like Marine Mammals of Maine, New England Aquarium, Allied Whale, or IFAW (just to name a few) give us a call on when they’re checking out an animal possibly in need of rehabilitation.  The phone rings.  We answer.  And we discuss whether there’s currently space and resources at MARC to house a new patient.  All things are considered, such as species, size and any ailments that animal is suffering.

Yesterday, this particular call came from Marine Mammals of Maine – who responds to animals in the Southern region of the state – from Rockland to the New Hampshire State line.  They were sending a volunteer, Bill, to check what sounded like a harp seal on Wells Beach.  The seal had some crusty eye discharge, uncomfortable posturing, and was shaking a bit – all signals that can tell us that an animal might not be feeling well.  So, he was collected and transported to MARC for care.

Meet “Sno-Cap” – named for his arrival after the 2013 Blizzard.

Sno-Cap arrives at UNE/MARC

Snow-Cap was delivered to us by Marine Mammals of Maine Volunteer, Bill.  Once onsite, Sno-Cap was weighed and then placed in an isolation room for exam.

MMOME Volunteer, Bill, assists with Sno-Cap Exam

Bill was happy to help us out with the exam.  He restrained Sno-Cap while our technician, Asheley, looked over the seal.  We took a quick body temperature (which was slightly elevated), a blood sample (which indicated some possible infection and severe dehydration) and checked over the animal inch by inch.  We discovered some cuts and scrapes and some minor alopecia (hair loss).

Asheley and Bill prepare to give oral fluids

Harp seals are notorious for suffering from severe dehydration, so we wanted to quickly start Sno-Cap on some fluid therapy, which included oral tubings, IV fluids, and stock-piling his room with a nice pile of ice to chew on (we like to let the seals naturally rehydrate when possible).

Checking to make sure Sno-Cap is breathing, once the feeding tube has been inserted, by feeling for breath on the forearm. It's one of three safety checks we perform before feeding the animals.

Because Harp seals also commonly eat rocks and sand and the rocks/sand cause blockages of the digestive system, we snapped a quick radiograph of Sno-Cap’s abdomen to see if he had any impactions.  Luckily, he was free of sand/rocks – good news!

When seals are calm, like Sno-Cap, we do our best to radiograph without the added stress of handling. Sno-Cap was fairly mellow, and we were able to snap a quick x-ray of his abdomen.

The good news:  After a night of fluids (staff and volunteers gave Sno-Cap a few oral tubings of electrolytes) and rest, Sno-Cap is already looking improved.  Blood values are starting to normalize today and he’s looking happier.  We’ll hopefully have him swimming and eating some fish soon!

Thanks to Marine Mammals of Maine, as always, for making sure Sno-Cap made it to MARC!

 

Save.The.Date – Seal Release Friday 02.15.2013

February 5th, 2013 by Shannon

This Sunday, we say Ciao (goodbye) to CousCous and Linguine

UPDATE 2/12/2013  – the seal release is back ON!!! see below for detailed event info.

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Date:  FRIDAY, February 15, 2013
Who?  Couscous and Linguine
(*subject to change)
Kennel Doors Open at:  3:00 pm
(Be there early!)
Blubber Hits the Water at:  ~3:01 pm
(Blink and you’ll miss it)
Location:
  Gilbert Place, on Biddeford Pool, Biddeford, Maine (as you enter Gilbert Place, veer to the left for public parking) Get Directions

Please drive carefully, mind speed limits and be respectful of the neighbors.  Thanks!

What to Bring:

  • Cameras
  • Good Vibes
  • All encouraged but not required.

UNE/MARC is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization that operates the only Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle rehabilitation program in Maine.  Each year MARC treats roughly 100 animals.  You can adopt a seal by calling 207-221-4228.  For information about UNE/MARC, to adopt an animal or to become a member, please visit us on the web at www.une.edu/marc, or call us at 207-221-4228.

Saying So-Long

February 1st, 2013 by Shannon

Due to the incredible numbers of sea turtles stranding during the Fall 2012 cold-stun event, UNE/MARC has been home to several groups of large loggerhead sea turtles.  Our first group of turtles was shuttled via Coast Guard Flight back in December when the opportunity to transport turtles to southern hospitals (and open up space in New England hospitals for new turtles in need) arose.

A few weeks later, just before Christmas, we received a second batch of turtles from New England Aquarium to help them with the hundreds of turtles occupying their pools.  Unfortunately, one turtle was extremely critical and, like many other turtles affected by cold-stunning, he died during the first few days of care.  Of the seven remaining turtles from the batch, two were recently transferred to Florida.  An opportunity presented to send 2 of our sea turtles to Florida in another transport/release coordinated by New England Aquarium in mid-January.  And so, on January 13, #98 and #101 (two unnamed turtles that were stable for relocation) were driven to Florida dozens more turtles.

Turtles head to the water

Our #98 heads to the ocean

Photos courtesy of New England Aquarium (NEAq) Rescue

#98 was taken to Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville Florida and released on a nice. sunny beach.  According to Connie Merigo of the NEAq Team, #98 “made a mad dash for the beach, beating out a much larger Cc” on his way to the water.  Our second turtle, #101 was taken to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center for care.

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In other news, on Sunday, January 20th, harbor seal Perciatelli, who arrived to our hospital in September 2012 after being deeply cut by a boat propeller, was returned to the sea.  During his 4 months in rehabilitation, Perciatelli was treated for the immediate injuries sustained from encountering the boat, as well as liver issues that developed over his time in our care.

Perciatelli's Boat Strike Wound - After several weeks of healing

Joined by a small group of volunteers, staff and friends from Idexx Laboratories (Westbrook, Maine) Perciatelli slowly headed to the waves at Gilbert Place Beach in Biddeford, Maine.

He gave a quick look back at the group of people who had come to see him off.   Moments later, he slipped under a wave and swam away.

Our guests take a quick peek at a seal - up close - just for a minute.

Guest of Honor Opens Perciatelli's Cage

Slowly making a break for the water

Bundled up for a cold-weather release. The chill can't keep folks away from the sight, though!

Perciatelli hits the surf

Now, to swim through a few big waves and he'll be home free.

** Thanks to our friends at Idexx Laboratories for support of our 2012 Frolic for Flippers 5K.