NORFOLK, Va. - People who visited the Ocean View Beach on Thursday were treated to a unique sight — a harp seal!
Several Ocean View residents took turns sitting nearby and keeping dogs and onlookers from getting too close until the Virginia Aquarium sent a team to help collect the seal.
According to Mackenzie Di Nardo with the Virginia Aquarium, the seal's health and behavior appeared normal following the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team's standard observation and assessment protocols. Its health appeared to decline Friday, and it was taken to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for rehabilitation.
The seal will hopefully be able to be released later when it's healthy again.
Di Nardo said that during the winter, seals are frequent visitors to our area and naturally haul out onto beaches and other structures near the water to rest. The public is asked to keep a distance of at least 150 feet from any seals that might haul out onto a beach or structure to allow it to rest properly.
Seals are a federally protected species and attempts to feed or touch them and other marine mammals are against the law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
If you spot a seal, call the Stranding Response Team's hotline at (757) 385-7575.