Wildlife officials' goal: Try to cool down wayward Arctic seal
By Rachel Simmonsen
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 04, 2007
An Arctic seal was spotted again early this morning in Hobe Sound, and wildlife officials are asking for large amounts of ice to help cool off the wayward creature.
The bearded seal, first spotted Thursday in the Intracoastal Waterway near Cove Road south of Stuart, was reported by residents about 5 a.m. today in Loblolly Bay, according to officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.
The animal retreated to the water when approached by security guards in the neighborhood, said Steve McCulloch, who organizes marine mammal rescues for Harbor Branch, a research facility north of Fort Pierce.
Wildlife officials now are monitoring the animal, which remains in the water near the neighborhood, said Dani Moschella, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Officials still are considering what to do with the animal, which measures about 6 feet long and likely weighs more than 250 pounds.
On Thursday, marine mammal experts decided the animal was too alert to try to capture, a task that would require three or four boats and up to 20 people.
Wildlife officials now plan to bring ice to the docks in Loblolly Bay, with the hopes the seal might again "haul out" and settle atop the ice to cool off, Moschella said. She asked that any companies able to provide large amounts of ice call her at (772) 215-9459.
Bearded seals normally are found in the icy waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. This is believed to be the first sighting of a bearded seal in Florida.
Source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/ ... cseal.html