No Flipper? No Problem!

Mar 27, 2013

An 8-month-old harbor seal pup has successfully recovered from a flipper amputation and is now on view at Mystic Aquarium.

She's called Pup 49, and when she came to Mystic Aquarium last summer she was in pretty bad shape.

"Pup 49 was very thin, she came in with a respiratory infection and she had lots of wounds all over her body, but very severe wounds on her rear flippers," said Mystic Aquarium veterinarian Dr. Allison Tuttle. She added that the wounds got very infected over time.

Despite numerous rounds of antibiotics, the infection in one of Pup 49's back flippers reached the bone, leaving no choice to amputate the flipper.

Now, Dr. Tuttle says Pup 49 is thriving. "She looks great. She's healed very, very well and now she is out, swimming around the pool."

But she will never swim as fast or as strong as a seal with two back flippers, and for that reason will not be released back into wild.

Mystic Aquarium has submitted a letter of intent to the federal government to acquire Pup 49. If approved, the harbor seal will live in Mystic Aquarium's Pacific Northwest habitat, and be given a much cuter name than Pup 49.