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Dec 12, 2015 4:01 PM

Crowd cheers Oregano, the seal, as he returns to the ocean in Rye

NH1.com

RYE - A baby seal, rescued two months ago and nursed back to health, drew a crowd to Wallis Sands State Park as the youngster was released back into the ocean.

"Somebody said they already spotted a seal off the coast here so I'm hoping his friends are gonna come in, and he's gonna go right out to seal island and just be happy," said Nikki Annelli, of the Seacoast Science Center.

Oregano, the seal, is now 4-months-old and returned to good health thanks to the New Hampshire Marine Mammal Rescue Team and the National Marine Life Center in Massachusetts.

Found weighing only 30 pounds with a wounded flipper, body lesions and a respiratory infection, Oregano was transferred by rescuers to the National Marine Life Center where he was treated.

"Most of the seals that we've rescued have been released in Connecticut and Maine...and in Massachusetts. This is the first New Hampshire seal," Annelli said.

He was one of almost 100 harbor seals that have been stranded on New Hampshire's seacoast just this year.

"We see sickness...illness...injury...human interaction like entanglements," Kathy Zagzebski, of the Marine Life Center said.

Oregano briefly took center stage on the beach as the crowd cheered his progress toward the water, where he quickly disappeared beneath the waves.

Funding for the the Marine Mammal Rescue Team at the Seacoast Science Center relies heavily on contributions from coastal communities. Learn more about their activities and how to donate at their website.

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