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Seal pup named 'Louis Armstrong' rescued by National Aquarium

The aquarium says that a recent trend of rescued seal pups too young to survive in the ocean without their mothers could point to a seal colony in Mid-Atlantic.

BALTIMORE — The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced Wednesday that a seal pup has been rescued and is now being taught how to survive.

The gray-colored youngster was found in Assateague island off the coast near Berlin, Maryland and is now one of three still maternally-dependent pups in the aquarium’s care. The staff noted that they've seen a recent trend of rescued seal pups too young to survive in the ocean without their mothers and that the trend could point to a seal colony currently in the mid-Atlantic.

The new pup was found stranded and dehydrated with wounds to his face and left flipper. He weighed just 35 pounds and the animal rescue team was able to determine he was born in January and would therefore still be dependent on his mother. Leaving him in the ocean would have meant leaving him vulnerable to predators and malnutrition, the team said. 

Since arriving, he has been treated for his injuries and is being taught how to master swimming and foraging for food.

The aquarium has decided to call him Louis Armstrong, keeping with the tradition of naming their rescues according to yearly themes; the 2021-2022 theme is musicians and instruments.

“Louis is a vocal and spirited pup who has no reservations about making noise to let rescue staff know when it’s time for a meal, and his Aquarium caregivers describe him as having a big personality,” the aquarium said in a Wednesday statement. “He is slowly getting comfortable in his splash pools and seeking out fish.”

The aquarium specified that Louis will remain at the facility until he is cleared for release, which will include several health checks, including reaching a weight of 50 pounds.

“Seal rescue season in the mid-Atlantic typically lasts from the early winter through May,” the aquarium shared. “Should you encounter a beached seal, it may not be sick, only resting. Do not touch or approach it and keep a distance of 150 feet. Note your location and time of day and immediately contact the National Aquarium's Stranded Animal Hotline at 410-576-3880.”

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