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Seal found in Riverhead's traffic circle recovering at Long Island Aquarium's rescue center

Seal rescued from roadway recovering at Long Island Aquarium rescue center 02:31

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- A marine mammal that should've been with its mother in the ocean took a trip to a traffic circle on Long Island.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, the seal that got lost on the streets of Riverhead is now the talk of the town.

Ellen and Ernest Washington joined the curious to see what all the fuss was about.

"I wonder how he got out into the street," Ernest Washington said.

"Amazing. I'm glad it survived," Ellen Washington said.

Town police couldn't believe the 911 call. Smack in the middle of Riverhead's busy traffic circle was a little gray seal flipping away.

"We handle deer calls mostly, loose horses, maybe a couple sheep, but never a seal," said Southampton Town Police Lt. Susan Ralph.

The seal is now safe inside the New York Marine Rescue Center on the medical grounds of the Long Island Aquarium.

"So far things are good, pretty stable animal," said the rescue center's Maxine Mondello. "We're waiting for one more blood sample to look at the internal infections."

The 3-month-old seal created havoc, waddling into a gas station and then onto the roadway.

"They kind of drag their hind flippers a little, but they do make some good distance when they want to," Mondello explained.

Eventually, animal experts found the seal amid arborvitae at a local motel.

The seal, lured from the bay to the Peconic River in search of migrating alewives, managed to climb over a fish ladder.

"Climate change is really affecting the work that we do and the animals that we work with," Mondello said.

There have been recent fish die-offs here, blamed on the changing climate and animals feeding on them adversely affected.

The rescued seal is being fed through a tube.

"We'll actually make it into a fish slurry. So like a little milkshake here, and then we'll switch him to whole fish," Mondello said.

Once blood work is complete, the baby seal is expected to be placed in a holding tank for rehab, then released into the ocean, where his movements will be followed.

"Having the live tracking shows us that they have natural migrations after they've been with us ... which is what we're trying to do here, just get them back into the wild," said Mondello.

Veterinarians believe the inquisitive animal strayed from its mother to look for nourishment and a place to rest.

Aquarium and rescue experts want to remind the public that seals are wild animals and should never be approached.

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