On Monday (Feb. 30), a baby seal was spotted casually attempting to cross a busy New Jersey highway.
According to Brick Township Police Department, the mammal was found on Route 35 near Curtis Point Drive in Mantoloking between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay. The department called New Jersey’s Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC), which took in the seal to rest at its Brigantine facility.
"The officers stopped traffic allowing the pup to safely cross the road. The seal then entered the backyard of a home on Ocean Ave, where she remained under the watchful eyes of the officers and a MMSC volunteer until our stranding technician arrived," MMSC said in a Facebook statement on Wednesday (March 1). "The 36 [pound] female grey seal was brought back to the MMSC for an examination and overnight observation. Fortunately, she had no signs of injury or illness and was not in need of rehabilitation. On Tuesday afternoon the healthy seal pup was released back into the wild."
The organization said that there's been many cases over the past 45 years of seals, especially grey seals, taking a "wrong turn and wandering up beach access paths to backyards, parking lots, and roadways." The organization added, "Typically we see at least one case of a wayward pup stranding in an unusual location every seal season. These pups are born on islands so when they get lost their instinct is to keep wandering until they find a body of water. Please have our 24-hour stranding hotline ready because you might need it when you least expect it."