Rehabbed Seal Released From Sandwich Beach

SANDWICH – A grey seal that stranded on South Beach in Chatham in early May was released Monday evening at Scusset Beach in Sandwich after weeks of rehabilitation.

Hundreds of spectators showed up to watch the seal, named Cilantro by marine animal rescuers, make his way back into Cape Cod Bay just before sunset.

The juvenile seal was rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare on May 2 and taken to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay for rehabilitation.

“It’s obviously a great feeling to have this come full circle and see an animal go from clearly not feeling very well to being released back out to their home, because that ultimately is where we want to see them,” said IFAW’s Suzanne LaChance, who helped in the initial rescue of the seal.

The animal had been heat branded by researchers in Canada and a wound that developed from the branding became infected.

Cilantro was also having trouble breathing due to an infestation of lungworm, and had developed an abscess in one of his rear flippers.

NMLC President and Executive Director Kathy Zagzebski said the seal was tube fed for about a week and quickly transitioned to eating fish.

“It’s always a bittersweet moment to see an animal you cared for so diligently and spent many hours and dedication to try to get him well, it’s always a mixed emotion to send them back out,” said Zagzebski.

Curious onlookers formed a large semicircle around Cilantro as he cautiously peaked his nose from a large carrying case that had been brought down to the beach.

After several minutes of scouting out his new surroundings, the seal eventually made it into the water, swimming out into the bay.

“Mostly it feels really great to get him out there, especially with an animal like Cilantro where we know he got sick and stranded because of human activity,” Zagzebski said.

The National Marine Life Center currently has 7 other harbor seals that recently stranded undergoing rehabilitation, including one rescued from the jetty at Scusset Beach Monday afternoon.

Since its inception, the NMLC has cared for 44 seals, 73 endangered sea turtles and 133 endangered native turtles.

Scusset Beach

Picture 6 of 6
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy