Police in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, rescued a baby seal that wandered far from the ocean, according to the Daily Mail.
During the rescue, authorities nicknamed the seal “Houston” after Kevin Houston, who was a U.S. Navy SEAL. Houston grew up in nearby Cape Cod and was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.
It is suspected that the baby seal traveled up a frozen creek and then couldn’t find its way back to the ocean. Several motorists spotted the lost seal pup on the highway, which prompted them to call police.
Authorities worked with a group called Amazing Animal Ambassadors to complete the rescue. Before being released into the wild, the baby seal was given a health checkup.
Both the Yarmouth Police Department and Amazing Animal Ambassadors shared photos on social medial of Houston the seal, who appeared to be relaxed throughout the rescue process.
The Yarmouth Police Department’s caption on the photos said: “SEAL SET BACK TO SEA! Our very special late night visitor has been given a clean bill of health by wildlife officials and been released back in to the ocean! We have nicknamed him ‘Houston’ after one of our local fallen American heroes Kevin A. Houston… who was a United States Navy S E A L and is fondly remembered by everyone here on Cape Cod. We believe little Houston travelled from the ocean up a nearby frozen creek and made his surprise appearance Navy SEAL style! Thank you for visiting us and stay warm and safe out there buddy!”
Amazing Animal Ambassadors’ statement offered a similar level of optimism: “Tonight the community came together to help save a baby seal running around 6A in Yarmouth. We helped catch the seal with Yarmouth Police Dept. to hold on to it safely until International Fund for Animal Welfare – IFAW and the Animal Stranding team arrived. Good luck buddy!”
Grey seals are not unknown in the northeast, and especially in Massachusetts. The Cape Cod Times reported that “between 30,000 and 50,000 live in the waters of Southeastern Massachusetts, primarily on and around Cape Cod.”
The species, which was nearly exterminated in the 1960s, is now thriving.
Grey seals are a staple of the region’s ecosystem and their comeback is often compared to the comeback of the grey wolf, which is found in the western United States.