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Introducing a seal pup named Coral

Published April 24. 2013 4:00AM
Coral (formerly Pup 49)

Mystic - And her name is Coral.

That is the choice of more than 8,000 people who cast votes on what Mystic Aquarium should name a rehabilitated harbor seal pup that the National Marine Fisheries Service says the aquarium can now care for permanently because its injuries would threaten its survival in the wild.

Voters were asked to choose from five harbor names suggested by aquarium volunteers who have cared for the seal: Coral, Grace, Hope, Madison and Mystic.

Until now the nine-month-old female harbor seal, whose left flipper had to be amputated after suffering a life-threatening infection, has been known as Pup 49.

The seal arrived at the aquarium's Seal Rescue Clinic in July after being rescued by New England Aquarium 10 days earlier in Plymouth, Mass.

She had a respiratory ailment and a swollen left rear flipper. Despite intensive treatment for the flipper, the seal developed a life-threatening infection in its bone and ankle joint that continued to worsen.

In November the aquarium's veterinary team amputated the infected flipper and has since successfully rehabilitated the pup.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has said the seal is non-releasable because she is a weaker, less agile swimmer and requires more effort to haul out of the water compared to seals with two rear flippers.

Now approximately nine months old, Coral can be seen through Sunday in the Aquatic Animal Study Center where there is a special ramp that helps her exit the water.

She will then be moved off the display for training. Coral is expected to return to public display this fall.

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