Mariposa, a female gray seal, has been under the care of The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation for the past three months. Now fully rehabilitated, Mariposa will be released in Hampton Bays this weekend in a celebratory public event.
On April 5, the Riverhead nonprofit rescued Mariposa in Quogue. At the time, the seal was severely handicapped with partial paralysis and a case of seal pox. After months of care, Mariposa is now healthy enough to return to the wild.
Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing suffering animals is what the Riverhead Foundation is all about. Six other seals are currently rehabilitating at its headquarters, located in the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center.
In addition to seals, the foundation focuses on sea turtles, whales, dolphins and porpoises. Helping these endangered animals is the mission of the Riverhead Foundation. It is the only organization formally authorized by New York to do such extensive rescuing of marine life.
Their commitment to environmental preservation extends to education and research projects as well. Ecology walks and beach cleanups are just a few of the ways that the foundation engages the public in their work. Tours of their Riverhead facilities and related lectures are also available.
The Riverhead Foundation conducts continuous projects monitoring both the populations and health of the animals. Surveys, tracking and tagging projects are all among the current studies.
Mariposa will be released at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, under the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Directions to the event are available at riverheadfoundation.org/news.
More information about the mission, current patients and research projects of the Riverhead Foundation can be found on their website, riverheadfoundation.org. The Riverhead Foundation’s 24-hour hotline to respond to animals in need can be reached at 631-369-9829.