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In This Long Island Town, an 'Unusual 911 Call'

Police help rescue baby seal from Southampton traffic circle
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2022 10:50 AM CDT
This Baby Seal Was Not Where It Was Supposed to Be
Not where this baby seal should be.   (Facebook/Southampton Town Police Department)

Police in an East End town on Long Island received what deems a most "unusual 911 call" over the weekend. Sgt. Jim Cavanagh of the Southampton Town Police Department tells CNN a seal was spotted on Sunday by residents, sliding through a parking lot in the hamlet of Riverside and eventually heading over to a nearby hotel, then into a traffic circle. "Some of our officers responded and found a baby harbor seal in the roadway near the Budget Host Inn," a Facebook post from the police department noted later that afternoon.

A rescue team from the New York Marine Rescue Center was sent over to scoop the baby seal out of the road and transport it to a rehab facility in nearby Riverhead, Maxine Montello, the director of the center's rescue program, tells CNN. The young marine creature was reported in "good condition." So how did it end up in the town hub in the first place? "What we believe happened is that the seal swam up the [Peconic] River, probably behind a big school of alewife fish," Cavanagh says. Then, "the seal probably climbed up out of the river, ending up in a park," subsequently traveling a few hundred feet into the traffic circle.

Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that harbor seals are more traditionally found hanging out on the coastline, spread out among the rocks, Montello says that occasionally one finds its way more inland. She tells CNN that one was recently discovered underneath someone's car, while another ended up in a Staten Island backyard a few years back. There may even be more like Sunday's case in the coming weeks, as Montello says we're entering "seal season," when people start flocking to the same beaches where the seals congregate. (More seals stories.)

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