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Posted at 12:47 PM ET, 05/13/2010

Hastings the harbor seal goes home

By Washington Post editors

hastings-stranding.jpg

Officials with the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced that a young male harbor seal that was found stranded in Ocean City in January was released back into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.

The seal, dubbed Hastings, has been at the National Aquarium since Jan. 15, when he was picked up by the Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) for rehabilitation.

At the time, Hastings was underweight, severely dehydrated, mildly emaciated and had a wound behind his left front flipper. In addition to the wound, Hastings had an upper respiratory infection and a mild case of pneumonia.

While in rehab, aquarium officials said on their blog that Hastings gained nearly 20 pounds on a diet of herring and capelin. He was given "enrichment items" (animal toys) to interact with, including frozen fishcicles and a bucket with holes that had fish inside, designed to encourage natural feeding behaviors. When he was released on Thursday he weighed 71 pounds.

WMAR Channel 2 has live video of Hastings' return to the ocean.

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By Washington Post editors  | May 13, 2010; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  | Tags:  Aquarium, Atlantic Ocean, Harbor Seal, Hastings, National Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore  
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