Seal rescued from lock before water freezes over

HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Biologists rescued a seal from Lock 1 on the Hudson River on Friday.

The seal with a poor sense of direction had been spotted at times during the summer along the shores of Halfmoon. There were fears the seal would eventually be blocked in by ice dams, but the lucky seal was saved.

Residents who had been tracking the seal since the summer named it Wrong Way Charlie. They don’t know if the seal is a boy or a girl, but the name worked either way.

The effort to save Charlie had been ongoing for a full day. Water was drained from the lock so the rescuers could reach the seal.

It was a bit of serendipity as to how the seal became penned inside the lock. The Canal Corporation was preparing for yearly maintenance over the past week. They closed the lock, and that’s when the seal was unintentionally closed in.

But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It made the attempt to capture the seal easier, and in the end, helped return it to the ocean.

“Absolutely, he delivered himself to us on a silver platter,” Halfmoon resident Shannon Fitzgerald, who helped organize the rescue said. “I had been stressing about this and had been trying to figure out what kind of rescue effort, if any, we were going to launch. So he put himself in the lock very kindly on Tuesday. We were very appreciative. And, yeah, it’s worked out well.”

Biologists with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation helped rescue the seal. They lowered a crane into the lock and corralled the seal into a cage to lift the 100 to 200 pound animal up and out.

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