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“Shoebert” update: Seal from Beverly makes his return to the wild

BLOCK ISLAD, R.I. — The gray seal who captivated crowds after he was spotted swimming in a pond in Beverly, is back to the wild off Rhode Island after a short stay at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.

“Shoebert” was released into the ocean on Block Island on Tuesday, at a location near other seals. The wayward 235-pound seal, who is believed to be 4-and-a-half years old, was taken into custody last week after he decided to waddle from Shoe Pond in Beverly to the nearby police station. Surveillance cameras captured his arrival at the station.

Once taken into custody, Shoebert was shipped to the Mystic Aquarium where the aquarium’s animal care team conducted blood tests, x-rays, and a full veterinary checkup before giving Shoebert a clean bill of health

“Four years before he captured the public’s imagination by living in Shoe Pond and then wandering over to the Beverly Police Department, Shoebert was rescued on Cape Cod,” according to a statement from the aquarium. “In 2018, the International Fund for Animal Welfare found him as a small pup and transported him to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation under their world-class care to treat a severe facial wound and an infection in his hind flipper.”

Before he was released on Tuesday, Shoebert was fitted with a satellite tracker that will help researchers learn more about seal ranges and habits.

“Shobert’s contributions expand far beyond the smiles he has brought everyone throughout his journey,” said Sarah Callan, Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Program Manager.  “Obtaining data on Shoebert’s health and movements since his initial admit for rehabilitation in 2018 is a unique opportunity that is important in a world where ocean dynamics are changing at an alarming rate. Shobert’s contributions to science and research will help us understand more about the gray seal species as a whole and the role they play in the ecosystem.”

“The journey to get Shoebert back to his ocean home required a village,” said Callan. “Responders from multiple stranding organizations, NOAA, and Beverly Police and Fire Department personnel came together to ensure the safety and well-being of both Shoebert and the local community during rescue efforts. Here at Mystic Aquarium, we feel honored to have been the last stop on his journey where he received a full health assessment and checkup before heading home.”

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