The seal pup, shown here wandering along a sidewalk in Ocean City on Feb. 7, died Monday. (Photo courtesy of Mike Trojak)


A grey seal pup discovered wandering down West Avenue in Ocean City on Feb. 7 has died at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, the center said Tuesday.

The seal pup was between 4- to 6-weeks old, survived a journey possibly from Maine or farther north and was only 28.8 pounds when rescued by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center staff between 42nd and 43rd streets in Ocean City.

The seal was 20 pounds under what it should have been, but was recovering at the center in Brigantine. Then on Feb. 19, the seal pup showed a “very sudden and rapid decline, and despite the extraordinary efforts by our staff to resuscitate him, the pup passed away only a few minutes later,” the MMSC staff said.

“It is with heavy hearts we share that the male grey seal from Ocean City has passed away. The pup stranded on February 7th after hauling out from the bay and traveling a quarter mile down 42nd Street. Over the past two weeks the young seal was being treated by MMSC’s veterinarian for parasites and a possible respiratory infection,” the MMSC said on the website

The seal pup had been recovering at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. (Photo courtesy of the MMSC)

The staff continued, “Staff provided nutritional support for the underweight pup, through assist feeding fish and supplemental tube-feeding of electrolytes and formula. We were hopeful when the pup began showing more interest in food last week, even starting to eat smaller fish on his own in recent days.”

A full necropsy will be performed to try and determine what caused the seal to die so quickly, the MMSC said.

The MMSC credited the dedication of MMSC veterinarian Dr. Hubert Paluch for “doing everything possible to try to give him a second chance.”

The seal was found on the street in Ocean City because of the swift action of residents who contacted and photographed and videoed the slight seal’s journey.

“We also want to thank the residents of Ocean City and everyone who rallied around this little seal, we know that you are hurting as much as we are today,” the stranding center staff said.

Over the past few months, the MMSC has been rescuing grey seals that make the journey from Canada or New England to New Jersey waters. One was discovered in Sea Isle City on Feb. 14 and two others in Beach Haven and Brigantine a day later.

The grey seals are weaned from their mothers at just two weeks old and some of them have difficulty adapting and finding food on their own, MMSC officials said.

Their journey is arduous starting from as far north as Canada.

“We have had many cases over the past 46 years of seals, especially grey seals, taking a wrong turn and wandering up beach access paths to backyards, parking lots, and roadways,” the MMSC staff said. “Typically, we see at least one case of a wayward pup stranding in an unusual location every seal season. These pups are born on islands, so when they get lost, their instinct is to keep wandering until they find a body of water.”

To donate to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, visit them on Facebook at

For the 24-hour Marine Mammal Stranding Center hotline, call 609-266-0538.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.