MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Crews responded late Wednesday morning to a seal that had washed ashore on 30th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the small harbor seal appeared to have a shark bite injury to its flipper. A veterinarian was called in to determine the extent of the injuries.
Multiple Myrtle Beach officers remained on the beach after dark Wednesday night to monitor the seal and manage the crowd of onlookers it attracted.
While waiting for a veterinarian to arrive, the seal remained alert and moved around the sand.
A veterinarian and a Coastal Carolina University marine science professor arrived around 1 p.m. to look at the animal.
After examination, it was determined the seal was not injured.
“This seal may have a few superficial injuries - there’s a few areas - but it’s generally very healthy and it’s normal behavior for a seal - this is a harbor seal by the way - for seals to haul out for hours at a time every day so that’s what it is doing right now. It’s very mobile. It’s very alert,” CCU professor Rob Young said.
Young said the seal did not have any bites on its flippers.
He also said because it did not have any other injuries that “were a cause for concern," it was OK for it to stay on the beach.
Young is also the coordinator for the South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He often gets called when marine life washes up on shore. He said there aren’t many members in the area and that’s why it took some time to respond to the sighting.
“Every now and then we get a call that there is a marine mammal. It’s not usually a seal, but we do get seals in Myrtle Beach most every winter,” Young said.
Young said usually he responds to bottle nose dolphins or small whales in this area.
Multiple long-time residents who were on scene said they have never seen a seal in the area before.
Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Tom Vest said officers will remain in the area to both monitor the condition of the seal and protect it from onlookers.