Seal Spotted Living in Freshwater Pond Leaves Scientists Perplexed

by Samantha Whidden

Not something that is seen every day, scientists were left perplexed when they discovered a seal spotted living in a freshwater pond.

Boston’s WCVB5 reports that onlookers saw a gray seal just swimming in a freshwater Massachusetts pond. The seal, which has been nicknamed Shoebert, was first discovered in Shoe Pond, just west of business park Cummings Center, earlier this month. NOAA Fisheries officials say that the agency is now working with the property manager as well as local animal control officer and experts in stranded animals to investigate the condition of the pond and the seal. 

The media outlet further reported that biologists observed the pond in a boat earlier this week. This is in order to take depth measurements and assess the seal’s behavior. Two rescue divers from the Beverly Fire Department also were seen assessing the conditions on the bottom of the pond. 

Meanwhile, NOAA Fisheries released a statement about what the plans are for the seal. “This information [from assessments] will better inform our response teams, in the instance that a rescue is necessary.”

Beverly Animal Control also shared an update about the seal. “The area surrounding the drainage pipe (Shoeberts path to the ocean) has been roped off. Please stay away from this area and instead stand on the sidewalks. We are trying to prevent any chance that he/she could be startled away from the path back to the ocean. So if you see the seal in that area please do not scream or cheer to support the efforts of going home.”

The animal control organization further explained it is illegal to feed and/or harass marine animals. “Please stay outside the fenced-in areas. Do not toss anything in the water. The seal appears to still be having a good vacation and is still healthy.” 

Seal in Massachusetts Pond is Reportedly Still ‘Happy’ Kicking Around & Doing ‘Its Thing’ reports that Beverly Animal Control officer Matt Lipinski spoke about the seal that is currently hanging out in a pond near Beverly. The official noted that the animal was originally in the upper Shoe Pond but has since shuffled around the areas. 

“There are more fish up here here,” Lipinski explained. “The animal is not in distress by any means. It is just kicking around and doing its thing.” 

Lipinksi also stated that it’s a pretty unusual spot to find a seal. “I have never seen it happen. Not here. It certainly is, in my opinion, a once-in-a-career type of thing. Just when you think you have seen it all, you see something else. This is not something you expect.” 

The animal control official further shared that much of the watching and decision-making of the seal will come from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA). “This one differs to NOAA and their mammal experts. They are the ones calling the shots. We are taking a backseat in how we support them.”