Eloise the Rescue Seal Pup Returns to the Ocean After 42-Day Recovery at National Aquarium

Eloise the rescue seal has made her triumphant return to the ocean.

On Feb. 12, the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR) in Lewes, Delaware, rescued the grey seal pup from the waters of Cape Henlopen, Delaware, where Eloise was found alone, malnourished and with several lacerations. MERR cared for the baby animal immediately after the rescue and then transferred her to the National Aquarium's Animal Care and Rescue Center for the pup's long-term recovery.

After 42 days at the Baltimore aquarium's rescue center, Eloise is ready to spread her flippers and be back in the ocean. According to a release from the National Aquarium, Eloise "easily progressed through her rehabilitation goals" at the center, quickly learning to eat fish on her own, even though she arrived at the center as a 1-month-old "maternally-dependent" pup.

Along with being clever, Eloise is also charming. She quickly befriended the aquarium's staff during her stay at the center. While the center's staff will miss the sweet seal pup, they are pleased to see a happy and healthy Eloise return to her life in the wild.

"Eloise surpassed all of her rehabilitation milestones, making her eligible for release into the ocean, according to our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration," Jennifer Dittmar, the director of National Aquarium Animal Rescue, said in a statement. "The ultimate goal for all of our rescue patients is release back into their natural habitats, so it's always a great day for our team when we can make that happen."

Several of Eloise's caretakers released the seal pup at Maryland's Assateague State Park. After leaving her crate, Eloise flopped down the shore and into the surf without issue.

Stuart Little, a rescue harp seal under the National Aquarium's care, is expected to join Eloise in the ocean soon. Stuart has gained weight and strength since he arrived at the facility and will likely be ready for release next month.

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