Video: Rescued Seal Transported To USA

March 23, 2023

Northlands the seal has left Bermuda and safely arrived in Connecticut where he will continue his rehabilitation at Mystic Aquarium with the goal of being releasing in the colder waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean.

A spokesperson said, “A juvenile gray seal rescued in Bermuda has arrived at Mystic Aquarium for the next leg of its long journey. After receiving care from the veterinary team and staff at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo [BAMZ], the male gray seal arrived in Connecticut via chartered flight for continued rehabilitation at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic, with the goal of releasing the animal in the colder waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean. The seal was found by Bermuda resident Mrs. Ruby Dill during her morning walk. Ruby named him Northlands after the school attended by her granddaughter, Nadia.


“Gray seals in the Western Atlantic generally live in coastal areas from Canada to the northeastern United States. Seals are generally not found in Bermuda waters due to the island’s isolation in the Atlantic Ocean, the warm water temperatures, and lack of soft-boned fish stock.

“The seal cannot be released in Bermuda waters because there is no appropriate food fish for him there. Also, the Gulf Stream would create a significant barrier to his return to the gray seal colonies in the United States. Representatives from several Bermuda and U.S. Government agencies mapped out travel plans to ensure all the correct permissions and permits were in place to send a protected marine mammal, and accompanying veterinarian, over international borders.

“To perform a successful international seal rescue, it really takes a village,” said Dr. Allison Tuttle, Mystic Aquarium’s Chief Zoological Officer. “Multiple entities including the Bermuda Aquarium, the governments of Bermuda and the United States, Cargojet, and Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program have come together to ensure that this little seal pup gets the best care possible and can be successfully returned to the ocean environment. All of us at Mystic Aquarium are thrilled to play a role in this important rescue effort.”

The spokesperson added, “The seal was rescued at Clearwater Beach on February 18. Veterinary and husbandry staff at BAMZ provided weeks of world-class care and Northlands showed marked improvement after initially presenting in a debilitated state. Northlands has done well through travel preparations and now is in good health.

“The pup had gained another 5.5 pounds at his most recent examination on March 17, making his total body weight 43 pounds.  Since being rescued, the pup has gained 16.5 pounds and was eating 6 pounds of herring daily. Northlands has no clinical signs of disease, and his blood work has improved dramatically, now in normal ranges for most parameters. While the pup lounged poolside, the management team at the BAMZ worked diligently with a host of partners to ensure his return to the United States.

“We are grateful to the United States Consulate General in Bermuda, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Customs and Border Protection, as well as the relevant Government of Bermuda Departments that have helped and waived fees where possible to expedite this seal’s eventual return,” said Dr. Ian Walker.

“In addition, we are thrilled and thankful to be working with the team from Cargojet and their partner Cedar Aviation for the flight portion of the transport. Once again, they have stepped up and provided their valuable services. Lastly, we are extremely grateful to Mystic Aquarium for agreeing once again to take our wayward seal into their Animal Rescue Program to complete his rehabilitation back to the wild.”

“While seal strandings are rare in Bermuda, this was not the first time Mystic Aquarium and partners stepped up to complete such an international rescue effort. Back in 2019, an adult female seal, affectionately named Lou-Seal by public supporters, was rescued off a rocky shoreline near Tobacco Bay, St. George’s, Bermuda by BAMZ.

“Much like Northlands, Lou-Seal became somewhat of a celebrity, garnering the love and support of local private citizens who pitched in with donations to support her care. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program helped the seal complete her rehabilitation and eventually released her back to the ocean. Mystic Aquarium will now provide its world-class care to help Northlands prepare for his return to his ocean home.

“It is the continued collaboration by local, regional and national companies, as well as international agencies, that made the transport to Mystic Aquarium possible,” said Dr. Walker. “Success stories like these do not happen without the invaluable support and care of many different organizations in multiple countries, all working in tandem.”

A spokesperson added, “The requirements of animal care and safety, marine mammal protection, customs, immigration and more, were collaboratively addressed and coordinated by NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bermuda’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the US Consulate and US Customs and Border Protection in Bermuda.

“Cargojet, Canada’s Cargo Airline, is the leading provider of time sensitive premium air cargo services to all major city centres across North America. Cargojet carries more than 25,000,000 pounds of cargo weekly as well providing CMI, ACMI and Charter services. Cargojet operates a network with its own fleet of 40 freighter aircraft. Cargojet participated with the movement of the gray seal from Bermuda International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.

“After Northlands cleared inspection with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program staff drove her back to Mystic’s Animal Rescue Clinic.

“Upon arrival, the seal pup was admitted to Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic where he will receive continued world-class professional care from the best-trained and caring animal care professionals in the world – all in preparation for release. The pup will remain at Mystic Aquarium until it is deemed healthy and then will be released back into his natural habitat.

“This is one lucky seal,” said Sarah Callan, Manager of Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program. “I don’t think we will ever know how Northlands ended up in Bermuda at such a young age, but he was in the best possible hands with the team at the BAMZ. Our Animal Rescue Program at Mystic Aquarium is looking forward to continuing his rehabilitation care until he is ready to go back to his ocean home.”

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  1. Phyllis Taggett says:

    It is so wonderful to wake up and read a lovely story about Northlands. It really shows how people can work together to improve the life and future of this little animal. God bless and Bravo to all involved.