A friendly seal that hung around Brick’s beaches this summer is heading to an aquarium in Detroit, officials have announced.
The seal, which swam just a few feet from shore at Brick Beach III and the Normandy Beach neighborhood this summer has been determined to be too used to humans to be able to properly survive in the wild after staff from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center found her allowing children to pet and feed her in Longport, Atlantic County, in September.
The seal was hanging out in Brick in August, and led to a flood of photos being posted to the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page during the height of the beach season. Each time she was spotted, lifeguards cleared the immediate area so she could pass by unharmed, Brick officials told Shorebeat at the time.
But in this case, the seal was already used to humans. According to a report from the Associated Press, she had been spotted up and down the New Jersey coast, as well as at beaches along the south shore of Long Island in New York. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center had twice taken in the seal – once to remove a fish hook from her mouth and once to treat a cough – but each time she was healthy enough to be let back in the wild, the report said. The Longport incident was when the determination was made that she was too friendly with humans to remain wild.
Federal officials, the AP report said, ultimately worked with the stranding center to send the seal to the Detroit Zoo on Sunday, where she will anchor a new seal exhibit. The zoo will hold a contest to determine her name.