Another day, another seal sighting on the Charles River in Boston.
“He was kind of like relaxing in the sunrise and he kind of slipped off the dock around 7:15 AM,” says Jenney Szeto of Community Boating, Inc., near where the seal was spotted early Tuesday.
“It looked very big, a big harbor seal. We were happy to have friends on the dock with us,” Szeto added, describing the seal in the picture shared with necn by one of her co-workers.
This cameo was a bit surprising for the New England Aquarium.
On Monday, pictures show a similar seal leaving the river.
“So then we thought, ok, we’re all set,” recalls Tony LaCasse from the Aquarium.
Since April 1st, the Aquarium has been chasing down reports of a seal all along the lower basin.
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“What we realized is that something unusual is going on here,” LaCasse says of the many reports.
Blurry pictures made it hard for experts to know what type of seal it was.
“After the first few days the seal really started expanding its range, and it went down to the Cambridge side of the river, down to MIT,” LaCasse said.
Finally on Monday, the Aquarium confirmed it was a healthy harbor seal like these. They are native to Boston Harbor.
But Tuesday’s sighting complicates things.
“We’re unsure if it’s a single animal or more than one and we’re hoping to answer that in the next week or two,” LaCasse says of the growing mystery.
A few clues may help, one being how relaxed the seal looked in the locks as it left the river.
“You can infer that this seal found the locks pretty familiar territory,” LaCasse says, hinting it may be the same seal coming back to feed in the fish-rich river.
Aquarium experts do hope it’s the same seal leaving and coming back, because extended periods in fresh water can be bad for the animal.
“They can start having health problems because their blood chemistry will be out of balance because they won’t be ingesting the salt from seawater which helps provide electrolytes,” LaCasse said.
This isn’t the first time a seal has been spotted in the Charles. The last time a widely documented seal was spotted was back in 2010