Guinness, a 110-lb gray seal was released back into the wild this morning in Ocean City after three months of rehabilitation at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Annapolis native Helen Marr was one of dozens of people clapping and cheering as Guinness, the 110-pound gray seal slid out of his wooden crate and crawled down the beach to the water’s edge.
But Marr has a special connection with Guinness, as she was one of the many volunteers working for the Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Program that helped nurse him back to health.
She says watching him swim away was bittersweet.
"It's like letting your child go," Marr says. "But you've done your job, and he’s going back where he belongs."
Guinness was rescued in North Carolina on St. Patrick's Day, hence the name. He arrived at the Baltimore Aquarium severely malnourished and underwent surgery for a fractured jaw.
Aquarium officials say he responded well to treatment and soon became an eating machine, gaining almost 30 lbs. on a steady diet of herring and capelin.
Guinness' reintroduction to the wild will be monitored by a satellite tag attached to his back, and the public can watch his progress online on the National Aquarium’s website.