TODAY'S PAPER
60° Good Morning
60° Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Riverhead Foundation releases seal, sea turtle after rehab stints

A seal named

A seal named "Catwoman" is released into the water off Hampton Bays by volunteers on Aug. 19, 2015 Photo Credit: John Roca

After several months of rehabilitation, an endangered sea turtle and a harbor seal are back in the sea.

Biologists at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation released Catwoman, a female harbor seal, and Namora, a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, Wednesday night under Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays, foundation spokeswoman Rachel Bosworth said.

When the animals entered the water at about 7 p.m., more than 200 onlookers erupted into applause and cheers.

"It's great to see how excited people are," said Robert DiGiovanni, the foundation's executive director and senior biologist. "It was a little bit more unique to have a turtle and a seal going out."

Namora was found cold-stunned -- when the water temperature is too cold for the turtle to eat or swim -- in November 2014 in Southampton. Bosworth said the turtle's age is unclear.

Kemp's Ridley turtles are considered an endangered species. While adults prefer warmer waters, Long Island's shores are a prime habitat for maturing younger turtles, experts say.

Catwoman was found in January at Westhampton Beach with an eye infection, sealpox -- a virus similar to chickenpox -- and respiratory congestion. Bosworth said the seal is at least a year old.

DiGiovanni said biologists placed flipper tags on the animals so they can track them as they move into deeper waters.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Latest Long Island News