The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute rescued a gray seal pup near the Cape Henlopen State Park’s Great Dune Feb. 12.
According to a Feb. 15 press release from MERR, the female pup is about three weeks old and very small. The pup was huddled up against the dune when she was spotted by a beach walker who reported her to MERR, said the press release. Since she was rescued on Valentine's Day weekend, she was nicknamed Cupid.
Cupid had some small wounds near her head, possibly from a bite from another seal. A pup this young is still dependent on its mother for food, so the decision was made to rescue her since she could not survive on her own, said the release.
Suzanne Thurman, MERR’s executive director, said it's a good thing that she was reported to MERR when she was, because it is unlikely she would have survived the night on her own.
“The high tides we have been experiencing caused the waves to come all the way up to the dune, and she would have been washed out to sea. She would have been too little and weak to survive in the stormy ocean, and would likely have drowned,” said Thurman in a prepared statement.
The press release said, based on her age and the amount of white baby fur covering her body, Cupid is likely to have been born in Delaware.
After being rescued, Cupid received hydration, nutritional therapy and other veterinary treatments at MERR. She was a little weak when she first came, but has gotten stronger each day, said the release. The seal will spend the remainder of her recovery at a long-term rehabilitation facility, where she will likely be renamed and will continue to receive nutritional support until she is able to learn to eat on her own, said the release.
MERR’s press release said that from now until late April, beachgoers can expect to see seals on Delaware beaches, marshes and structures such as docks and other areas where they can rest. Do not approach or feed a seal. Maintain a distance of at least 150 feet and keep dogs on a leash. Call MERR at 302-228-5029 so a trained responder can report to the scene to assess the seal's condition.