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LuSeal hauled out at the new pool in 2008. Photo credit: Woods Hole Science Aquarium

LuSeal "porpoising" during a training session at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Woods Hole Science Aquarium

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July 3, 2017
Contact: Teri Frady

Woods Hole Science Aquarium Loses Harbor Seal

LuSeal, the beloved 15-year-old female harbor seal at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, died of respiratory and heart failure on Sunday, July 2. She became noticeably sick on Saturday afternoon. She was attended immediately by marine veterinarians and her long-term caretakers, who treated her throughout the night and into Sunday afternoon but who were not able to save her life.

LuSeal was the first animal to live in the aquarium's modernized seal habitat, arriving in 2008. She had been in and out of rehabilitation facilities for marine mammals since first stranding on Cape Cod at just one-month old. Despite several attempts at reintroducing her to the wild, LuSeal had recurring infections and never succeeded in feeding herself while at liberty. She was subsequently designated unreleasable.

Harbor seals at the aquarium help NOAA Fisheries to inform the public about these animals, what to do around seals that are hauled out on beaches, and how to report a stranded or entangled marine mammal.

NOAA Fisheries and the Woods Hole Science Aquarium would like to thank attending veterinarian Dr. Michele Sims, Cape Cod Veterinary Services and the Falmouth Hospital for help with emergency blood testing and medical supplies, the Yarmouthport-based International Fund for Animal Welfare for veterinary and animal care assistance, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for necropsy support.

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(File Modified Jul. 03 2017)