Baby Seal Found Struggling with Plastic Around Her Neck During Annual Seal Migration

The baby gray seal is recovering from her ordeal at New Jersey's Marine Mammal Stranding Center

<p>Marine Mammal Stranding Center</p> Baby gray seal found entangled in plastic wrap in New Jersey

Marine Mammal Stranding Center

Baby gray seal found entangled in plastic wrap in New Jersey

A little seal is resting up after a dangerous run-in with ocean litter.

The female seal pup is recovering at New Jersey's Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) after she was found with a piece of plastic wrapped around her neck.

According to a Facebook post from the center, the baby gray seal came into the facility's care on Feb. 15. On the day, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center received a call to its hotline about an entangled seal in Beach Haven, New Jersey.

"When our Stranding Team arrived, they discovered a seal pup entangled around the neck by the plastic overwrap from a case of bottled water. The female Grey seal was immediately transported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center where the entanglement was removed," the center wrote about what happened next.

The center's post also included a photo of how the seal pup was found. In the picture, the baby animal appears on the sand with a large piece of plastic wrap squeezing her neck.

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It appears rescuers found the seal shortly after she became caught in the plastic because the trash had yet to cause injuries to the animal's neck. MMSC added on social media that the pup arrived weighing 38.2 pounds.

"The pup's body overall condition was thin, she was lethargic and suffering from gastrointestinal issues. MMSC's veterinarian performed a full medical examination, and blood panels have been submitted to check for any underlying medical conditions and guide the treatment plan," the center wrote,

The baby seal will stay with MMSC until she recovers and is ready for release. The pup was likely going through the annual gray seal pup migration when she was found.

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"These pups are born starting December through February and only nurse for about two weeks before their mothers wean them. Many pups are now making the long swim from their birthing grounds in New England and Canadian waters to New Jersey. Along the way, these recently weaned pups are learning to hunt for their food on their own and evade predators. By the time they reach our beaches, they need their rest, and some pups who have not fared, as well as the others on their journey, need MMSC's help," the center concluded its post about the new pup patient.

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According to ABC News, the recovering seal pup is the United States' only stock of gray seals. The U.S. group, which also spends time in Canadian waters, is estimated to be about 450,000 seals strong and is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Gray seals have a life span of 25-35 years, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but these lives can be cut short by oil spills, boat strikes, fishing gear entanglement, and pollution.

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