Grey seal arrives unescorted at entrance to Maine hospital
Apparently satisfied that it was moving in the right direction, the seal dipped its nose in the icy waters of the Fore River, took the plunge and swam off - presumably in search of Portland Harbor. A marine mammal expert indicated that it’s not uncommon for a newborn grey seal pup to briefly seek solid ground in an attempt rest and regulate its body temperature.
Grey seals have been the subject of controversy of late. Due to strong demand for their fur, grey seals were harvested to within a within a whisker of extinction. Hunting bans helped increase their numbers from a few thousand in the 1970’s to 300,000 400,000 today.
Grey seals are blamed for helping decimate the populations of large fish, especially cod, along North America’s Atlantic seaboard. In October, the Canadian Senate approved plans for a “seal cull” to reduce the population by 70,000. The move prompted scientists at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University to issue an open letter contending that, “There is no credible evidence to suggest a cull of grey seals in Atlantic Canada would help depleted fish stocks recover.”