Credit Mystic Aquarium

Today, Mystic Aquarium released “Northlands,” a rescued juvenile gray seal from Bermuda who arrived at the facility on March 20, 2023. After receiving initial care from the staff at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) upon his discovery on February 18, the male gray seal pup spent the last several weeks of continued rehabilitation at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic with the ultimate goal of releasing the animal in the colder waters of the north Atlantic Ocean. After a marked recovery, Northlands was released at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island on the morning of April 11, 2023.

Gray seals in the Western Atlantic generally live in coastal areas from Canada to the northeastern United States. Seals are generally not found in Bermuda waters due to the island’s isolation in the Atlantic Ocean, the warm water temperatures, and lack of soft-boned fish stock. Besides being “out of habitat” for gray seals and the Bermuda waters not being suitable for survival of this species, Northlands was found malnourished and dehydrated. 

Credit: Mystic Aquarium

When first discovered stranded at Clearwater Beach in Bermuda, the juvenile gray seal weighed in at a mere 26 lbs. Today, Northlands has weighed in at over 55 lbs., doubling in size during his time spent in rehabilitation. Northlands has no clinical signs of disease, and his blood work has improved dramatically, now in normal ranges for most parameters. With such strides made, the 4-month-old was ready to return to his natural habitat. 

Just as the children of Bermuda painted their goodwill messages for LouSeal’s release in 2019, Mystic Aquarium’s Sea School Preschool program, the nation’s first onsite preschool at an aquarium, painted a kennel to honor and wish Northlands well for his release. Education is at the heart of Mystic Aquarium’s mission and involving children in the important rescue work we do inspires the next generation of conservation enthusiasts. 

“It has been such an honor to be a part of Northland’s journey and we’ve seen tremendous growth during the time he’s spent here with us at Mystic Aquarium,” said Sarah Callan, Manager of Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program. “It’s been a true, international team effort and I believe I speak for all of us when I say we are thrilled to see Northlands return to his ocean home in good health.”

While seal strandings are rare in Bermuda, this was not the first time Mystic Aquarium and partners stepped up to complete such an international rescue effort. Back in 2019, an adult female seal, affectionately named Lou-Seal by public supporters, was rescued off a rocky shoreline near Tobacco Bay, St. George’s, Bermuda by BAMZ. Much like Northlands, Lou-Seal became somewhat of a celebrity, garnering the love and support of local private citizens who pitched in with donations to support her care. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program helped the seal complete her rehabilitation and eventually released her back to the ocean. 

“Each rescued animal tells us a story about what is happening in the ocean,” said Meagan Seacor, Mystic Aquarium’s VP of External Relations. “From those stories and the data we collect, we can advocate for marine life and the ocean ecosystem and continue to make strides in conserving and protecting it.”

The success of Northlands is thanks to the collaboration between multiple organizations including the National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bermuda’s government, and Bermuda Aquarium, CargoJet, and of course Mystic Aquarium.

To learn more about Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program, please visit

Credit: Mystic Aquarium

Source: Mystic Aquarium

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