"Tom Sawyer" is the third seal to be rehabilitated at the aquarium this year.
Everyone's story comes to an end, and for this little grey seal, it's a good one! On Wednesday, the National Aquarium released a seal nicknamed "Tom Sawyer" back into the ocean after spending four months in rehabilitation. The aquarium's Animal Rescue Program, which helps abandoned marine animals, took him in on April 19 after discovering him in Delaware with critical injuries. He is the third grey seal rescued and admitted for care this year.
"Tom Sawyer was our third seal patient of the 2021 season and he certainly had his challenges," said Jennifer Dittmar, the National Aquarium's Director of Animal Rescue in a statement.
Among the maladies found were an eye ulcer, an injured flipper, and mouth, and lungworm infection, all of which staff members treated successfully. A radiograph also revealed a symphysis fracture located on both sides of his jaw but was swiftly stabilized using an acrylic bridge. And as far as his teeth, dental professionals were able to confirm a clean bill of health.
Sea you later! 👋 🌊 After nearly four months of rehabilitation at our Animal Care and Rescue Center, juvenile grey seal Tom Sawyer was released back into the ocean yesterday at Assateague State Park. Help us wish him a fond farewell! pic.twitter.com/5zIS90cACZ— National Aquarium (@NatlAquarium) August 12, 2021
Much like the fictional character he's named after, Tom Sawyer defied the odds through recovery, consuming up to eight pounds of fish a day and weighing 69 pounds at the time of his release.
"Much of Tom's rehabilitation required patience, as the process to treat lungworms can take multiple courses of medication," Dittmar said. "As we say farewell to Tom, my team and I are currently preparing for the next rescue season's cast of characters."
The National Aquarium has rehabilitated two other seals this year, also named after storybook characters. Eloise was found stranded and malnourished at Delaware's Cape Henlopen on February 14 and returned to the waters in early April after receiving care for 42 days. Harp seal Stuart Little followed in March where he was discovered on an Ocean City Beach likely dehydrated and made his successful departure in April. We wish Tom Sawyer a safe journey across the Mid-Atlantic waters he can finally call home!
What do you think of this little guy's journey? Send your well-wishes to Tom Sawyer in the comments.