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Babylon Village residents and visitors were treated to an adorable sight recently when an Arctic seal, known locally as Sealia, made an unexpected appearance earlier this month.
The name may be misfitting because it was actually confirmed to be a male harp seal, according to the New York Marine Rescue Center in Riverhead.
It is believed he swam from icy waters up north all the way down to Babylon Village where he stayed for three days.
“These are considered ice seals, and they normally travel from northern Canada looking for food,” said Maxine Montello, rescue program director for the New York Marine Rescue Center. She added the seal is a youngling, aged somewhere between 1-2 years old.
The little guy’s stay in Babylon quickly became the talk of the town.
The friendly marine mammal became a local celebrity, with both residents and tourists flocking to the village to catch a glimpse of him frolicking by the village boat ramp. The locals made the most of his visit by observing him leisurely swimming in the calm waters and basking in the sun.
Sealia seemed to enjoy the attention of his human visitors, who were enchanted by his adorable face and playful antics.
Babylon Village Mayor Mary Adams praised the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for their outstanding job of keeping Sealia safe during his visit. The New York Marine Rescue Center team came to move Sealia to a safer location on March 3, and the mayor wished his safe travels to his new home.
“I wish him safe travels in his new home and she is always welcome to vacation in Babylon Village anytime,” said Adams.
And the good news: he’s doing well. While still at the rescue center, he’s gaining weight and will be released soon, Montello told greaterlongisland.com on Tuesday, March 14.
Top: Sealia hanging out in Babylon Village. (Credit: Facebook/Village of Babylon)