Recently Rescued, Merrimack the Harp Seal Enters Rehab
The National Marine Life Center honors the Merrimack River in the form of a 66-pound male harp seal rehab patient. Merrimack, or Mack, as he is known to staff and volunteers, was stranded on Hampton Beach, N.H., on February 15. He was rescued and brought to the nonprofit rehabilitation center in Buzzards Bay, Mass., by the Seacoast Science Center (SSC) Marine Mammal Rescue.
Merrimack is being treated for dehydration, a heavy parasite burden and rock ingestion. Harp seals spend the warmer months in the Arctic, where they eat snow and ice to keep themselves hydrated. When they move south for warmer waters in the winter, they often confuse sand and rocks with the snow they are accustomed to eating. Mack ingested three big rocks trying to get hydrated.
Katherine McKenna, animal care coordinator reports, “Mack was initially treated for parasites with anti-parasitic medication and rehydrated. Out of the three rocks in his stomach, he has passed one. For the other two, we will be doing radiographs and working closely with our veterinarian and government officials to discuss how we should proceed with treating his condition. The important thing is making sure the rocks are not blocking any intestines.”
Mack has begun eating full fish on his own and is showing promise of a successful recovery. To learn more about this organization and to help injured and stranded marine animals like Merrimack, visit nmlc.org.