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Seal rescued at Babylon beach

An injured juvenile male gray seal was seen

An injured juvenile male gray seal was seen at Robert Moses State Park on Easter Sunday. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation brought the animal back to its hospital at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead for a physical examination and treatment of an apparent jaw injury. (April 24, 2011) Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Long Islanders enjoying a shoreline Easter walk in Babylon were greeted by a rare sight Sunday morning.

A juvenile male gray seal had washed up on the sand at Robert Moses State Park’s Field 5 for families enjoying their Easter morning to see.

“I was just taking a walk,” said Jacqueline McKeown, 40, of Babylon. “I got so excited because it’s unexpected to see that here. I feel like it was an Easter gift.”

Park officials contacted the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation who picked him up and brought him to the foundation’s hospital at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead.

Julika Wocial, supervisor of the foundation’s rescue program, said the seal was taken from the beach because it appeared to have a jaw injury, which was confirmed when it was examined. She said the jaw was broken and infected, and that biologists had started the roughly four-month-old pup on antibiotics to fight the infection.

She said the seal would stay in rehabilitation tanks in Riverhead for a few weeks so the biologists can monitor the how the jaw heals, the infection, and the seal’s eating habits.

Soon after the biologists from the Riverhead Foundation rescued the injured seal in Babylon they were back out at a beach in Nassau County for another seal on the beach.

Wocial said the foundation received a call about another gray seal spotted on the beach at Point Lookout. She said rescuers went to the Nassau County beach to check it out and determined the pup was healthy and did not need any assistance.

“It just seemed to be resting on the beach,” she said. “We didn’t see anything abnormal.”

Wocial said the month of April is an especially popular time for gray seals to be swimming through Long Island waters from Manhattan to Montauk. She said the foundation receives calls from seal-spotters on a routine basis -- anywhere from five to 30 times a day -- and checks out each case.

Erin Geismar contributed to this report.

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