The hope is to return her happy and healthy to the wild.
"Eloise" is more than just the name of the adventurous storybook heroine—it's also the name of the newest rescue at Baltimore's National Aquarium, and this grey seal pup has an adventurous tale of her own. Jennifer Dittmar, director of animal rescue at National Aquarium, said there are many ways the less-than-a-month-old pup could have become stranded.
"There could be many reasons for this to be happening including storms, a human interaction that scared off the mom, maternal instincts that haven't kicked in or birthing complications," said Dittmar.
On February 14, a grey seal pup was transferred to our Animal Care and Rescue Center after stranding in Cape Henlopen, Delaware. Eloise—nicknamed in accordance with our ongoing storybook naming theme—was found malnourished and with a few lacerations on her neck. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/6F39RcWRN1— National Aquarium (@NatlAquarium) March 2, 2021
Whatever the reason, according to National Aquarium's press release, Eloise was rescued from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on February 12, "in coordination with the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR)." She was triaged at the MERR facility in Delaware, then moved two days later to National Aquarium's Animal Care and Rescue Center, where stranded marine mammals and sea turtles from the Maryland coast may be rescued and rehabilitated. Initially malnourished, Eloise was "hydrated and nourished through an oral feeding tube, but ... quickly progressed to the next stage in her rehabilitation."
The young pup is still maternally-dependent—"meaning that if she were in her natural habitat, she would be relying on her mother for milk." Since Eloise is now without her mother, National Aquarium has focused her rehabilitation on "teaching her how to eat fish—a skill she would normally learn from her mother." Before she can be released back into the wild, Eloise will need to double her current weight—at 28 pounds, she has a long way to go.
Still, the future looks bright for the young pup. "Currently," according to the National Aquarium, "Eloise has been far exceeding expectations by eating fish on her own."
We hope the best for Eloise! Leave your well-wishes in the comments.