A juvenile female gray seal stranded on Lucy Vincent Beach was rescued Wednesday morning in a coordinated effort from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), multiple Island animal control officers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

After several sightings of the stranded seal were reported to NOAA’s marine animal stranding hotline, Island officials convened on the beach to cage the animal for transport to the Mystic Aquarium animal rehabilitation program.

“It was a great all-around team effort to mobilize really quickly,” said tribal laboratory manager Andrew Jacobs. The tribe is part of NOAA’s marine mammal stranding network, having signed an agreement last year allowing it to respond to strandings on-Island. When NOAA gets such a report, it reaches out to the tribe’s natural resource department to coordinate a response.

“We’ve had a few different calls about the seal to our stranding hotline in the last couple of days,” said NOAA marine mammal stranding coordinator Ainsley Smith.

Rescuers did not immediately respond to the reports, since seals commonly use the beach as a resting spot, however photos sent by Tisbury animal control officer Heather Maciel confirmed that the seal was not behaving normally.

“It was definitely agitated,” said Ms. Maciel, who first heard reports about the animal over the weekend. The seal is in its juvenile stage, now independent from its mother and undergoing the painful process of molting its first coat. Upon closer inspection, the group found that the seal’s front flipper was also damaged.

After confirming that Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut had space for an animal in its rehab program, the group coordinated a response this morning. In addition to Ms. Maciel and Mr. Jacobs, tribal indirect services director Bret Stearns helped with the rescue, as did Edgartown animal control officer Kimberly Andrade and Chilmark fire chief Jeremy Bradshaw, who transported the seal from the beach on a department ATV.

According to Ms. Maciel, experts from Mystic Aquarium gave the seal a high likelihood for recovery and release. The animal was dropped off on the ferry this afternoon.