A Springtime for Seals

by Jane Ahrens

By Jane T. Ahrens
April 1, 2023

Coinciding with a Mystic Aquarium seal release published in The Day in March, we have seen a few of the seal pups stealing a moment’s rest on our Fishers Island beaches this spring.

Above, Mystic Aquarium intern Jessica Farr tips a crate Thursday to encourage Kiwi, a 3-month-old gray seal, to leave as she is released at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, R.I. It took some urging to get her out of the crate, and she wandered around for a few minutes, guided by volunteers, before returning to the water. The seal was found stranded-severely malnourished and with an infection in Nantucket, Mass., when she was 5 weeks old. She was taken to Mystic Aquarium, where she recovered and returned to a healthy weight after receiving veterinary treatment and nutrition. Right, a photographer gets caught in the surf Thursday as Kiwi makes her way toward the sea. PHOTOS BY SARAH GORDON THE DAY

The photographer in the water and mentioned in the article is non-other than Fishers Island School alumna Sarah Wilkinson who works at the Mystic Aquarium.

Photo Credit Sarah Gordon/The Day

Sarah Wilkinson has shared several of her photos of Kiwi’s release with FishersIsland.net.
Click any photo in the gallery to see a larger image.

Several Fishers Islanders are trained each year by the Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program experts in ‘what to do’ should an animal such as a seal pup become stranded here.

A Harp Seal pup was found on South Beach on March 17, 2023. Marlin Bloethe, one of the Fishers Island volunteers trained in the Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program, (and a gifted photographer) monitored the seal. “When I went back to South Beach at 9:30 that night w/Ellie who is also a volunteer, the seal wasn’t on the spot anymore so we assumed that it found its way back in the water”, returning to the ocean after a restful time on our south shore.
Harp Seal photo credit: Marlin Bloethe

The next Animal Rescue training by the Mystic Aquarium will happen in the fall. The information will be posted on FishersIsland.net when a date is finalized.


  • Leave a message on the Mystic Aquarium’s 24-hour hotline (860) 572.5955 x107 and expect a return call
  • Give the animal plenty of space, keeping people and pets at least 150 feet away (it’s the law!)
  • For the animal’s safety and your own, do not touch, feed or attempt to help in any way
  • If the animal appears to be dead, keep your distance – some zoonotic diseases are harmful to humans and can be transferred to pets

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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