The grey seal pup was rescued from the seas of Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on Feb. 12 by the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR) in Lewes, Delaware. Eloise was found alone, emaciated, and with multiple lacerations. The newborn animal was promptly cared for by MERR before being moved to the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center for long-term rehabilitation.
Eloise is ready to spread her flippers and return to the water after spending 42 days at the Baltimore Aquarium’s rescue facility. Despite arriving at the facility as a 1-month-old “maternally dependent” pup, Eloise “easily proceeded through her rehabilitation goals” at the center, swiftly learning to eat fish on her own, according to a release from the National Aquarium.
Eloise is lovely as well as intelligent. During her time at the facility, she immediately made friends with the aquarium’s personnel. While the employees at the facility will miss the adorable seal pup, they are relieved to see Eloise return to the wild in good condition.
“According to our colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Eloise has met all of her rehabilitation milestones, making her fit for release into the ocean,” Jennifer Dittmar, director of National Aquarium Animal Rescue, said in a statement. “Releasing our rescue patients back into their native habitats is the ultimate objective for all of our patients, so it’s always a happy day for our staff when we can do that.”
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At Maryland’s Assateague State Park, many of Eloise’s caregivers released the seal pup. Eloise flopped along the coast and into the waves without incident after escaping her cage.
Stuart Little, a rescued harp seal in the care of the National Aquarium, will soon join Eloise in the ocean. Since his arrival at the institution, Stuart has gained weight and strength, and he will most likely be released next month.