Hurricane Irene's aftermath did not keep the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation from sending a healthy, rehabbed seal back to the water in Hampton Bays.
A gray seal named Sully, who was rescued in East Hampton this April, was released under the Ponquogue Bridge Tuesday evening after a long rehabilitation, according to Julika Wocial, rescue program supervisor of the Riverhead Foundation.
Wocial said that Sully was found on April 17, when only a few months old with a severe injury to his lower jaw and underweight.
"He was in rehabilitation longer than an average seal, because his injury needed time to heal. Riverhead Foundation veterinary staff had to remove two bone pieces from his lower jaw before it started healing," she said.
On the day of Sully's release, Wocial said, he weighed 103 pounds, 55 pounds more than when he was rescued, and that he maintained a healthy appetite during his rehabilitation eating up to 12 pounds of fish a day.
Hurricane Irene was of great concern to the Riverhead Foundation according to Wocial, because their facility is within the flood zone in Riverhead. She said the staff and volunteers spent days making sure the animals were safe and that the facility was prepared for possible flooding and wind damage.
The Riverhead Foundation survives on support from volunteers and the local community. Wocial said they are grateful for its supporters and members, especially during times like these when they could have suffered large destruction to what is a temporary home to hundreds of seals, sea turtles, and dolphins.