Sally Ride and Marie Tharp are two female Harp seals who were rescued off the coast of Maryland and Delaware at the beginning of the year. They were brought to the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center in Baltimore to undergo treatment and rehabilitation. Staff and visitors quickly fell in love with them and their journey to recovery.
When they were rescued, Marie was severely dehydrated and had contracted seal lice, intestinal worms, and a mild respiratory infection. Sally was also suffering from dehydration and a severe case of seal lice. After spending more than two months at the center, Marie was deemed healthy enough to be returned back to the ocean on April 5. She was released at Assateague State Park.
Sally Ride’s Return Home
Sally was originally found stranded on the shores of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and admitted to the center in late February. After being treated with antibiotics and IV fluids, she was moved into the rehabilitation suite with Marie Tharp. She was named for Sally Ride—an astronaut and physicist who was an advocate for science education and motivated young girls and women to pursue careers in science, math, and technology. Naming animals after famous scientists was the aquarium’s theme for the 2018-2019 season.
Now Sally’s time has come! Sally was released in Ocean City, Maryland, on April 25. Accompanying her was a crowd of 300 workers and onlookers. Once the crate was opened, Sally wasted no time and was off into waves, cheered on by all her supporters.
The Mission of the Rescue Center
As an extension of the National Aquarium’s mission, the Animal Care and Rescue Center provides a permanent and world-class home for the care of the Aquarium’s current and future animals and some of its animal rescue operations, says Weaver.
Home to up to 1,500 animals at any given time, the center’s ample pools provide a place for care and acclimation for species from beta fish to sharks, and more than doubles the capacity for off-exhibit and rescue animal care.
The 56,339-square-foot building also houses the exhibit fabrication workshop and classroom and community space.
The Animal Care and Rescue Center is home to state-of-the-art seal rehabilitation suites.