Sick Seal Rescued on Rockaway Beach by Marine Biologists

By Katie Honan on May 8, 2014 1:53pm 

 The gray seal swam onto the beach on Monday.
The gray seal swam onto the beach on Monday.
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Glenn DiResto

ARVERNE — A large gray seal was rescued after it swam up on Rockaway Beach earlier this week and marine experts determined it was suffering from respiratory and other ailments.

The seal, which was likely born in January, was brought by crews to The Riverhead Foundation on Wednesday after first being spotted on the beach on Beach 59th Street in Arverne two days earlier, according to the group's Facebook page.

Initially, the seal appeared to be OK, but it took a turn for the worse Tuesday night into Wednesday, based on reports and photos from police officers and passersby.

On Wednesday, the seal was brought to Riverhead, where it is being treated with antibiotics for parasites and respiratory ailments, the group said.

He is scheduled to undergo an X-Ray on Friday to determine how serious the respiratory condition is.

"He's fighting something," said Kim Durham, Riverhead's program director.

The animal is one 15 gray seals at the Riverhead faciltiy that are undergoing treatment for a range of ailments. All were rescued this winter along the south shore of Long Island, mostly in Suffolk County.

This is at least the third seal to swim up to peninsula beaches this year, although he is the first to have to be rescued for an illness.

A young Arctic harp seal swam up to Beach 19th in Far Rockaway in March to help shed its coat, experts said.

And last month a harbor seal, which is most common in New York waters, was found on Beach 97th Street in Rockaway Beach.

Both of the animals returned to the water on their own.

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