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National Aquarium Releases Rehabilitated Seal Back Into Ocean

BERLIN, Md. (WJZ) -- Rehabilitators from the National Aquarium on Wednesday released a juvenile gray seal back into the ocean.

The seal they named Tom Sawyer was sent on his way at Assateague Park. He was rescued from Delaware on April 19 and, upon his arrival in Baltimore, he was found to be suffering from an eye ulcer, lungworm and injuries to his flipper and mouth.

After teams cleared his lungworm infection and the injuries to his eye and flipper, they worked with a veterinary dental specialist to treat a fracture of a bone located where both sides of his lower jaw connect at the chin. Tom was sedated and received a temporary acrylic bridge.

Before discharging him, the aquarium tested Tom by making sure he could catch live prey. That's a test he quickly passed.

"Tom Sawyer was our third seal patient of the 2021 season and he certainly had his challenges," said Jennifer Dittmar, National Aquarium's director of animal rescue. "Much of Tom's rehabilitation required patience, as the process to treat lungworms can take multiple courses of medication. As we say farewell to Tom, my team and I are currently preparing for the next rescue season's cast of characters."

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