Essex County

Seal team ‘Shoebert’: Beverly officials trying to corral aquatic animal from local pond

BEVERLY, Mass. — Shoebert is the talk of the town in Beverly as dozens came out to watch the seal who made his way into Shoe Pond several days ago.

“I brought them because I’ve lived here my whole life and we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Cindy Negrotti, who brought her grandchildren, Thomas and Wes, to see the seal.

“They’re trying to catch Shoebert to bring him to a better home,” said Wes Negrotti.

A local shop even made t-shirts for the new celebrity.

“It’s been so much fun, I came here yesterday with my daughter and she got to see him swimming around, so it’s cool it’s like a kids book come to life,” said Chris Wrenn, who lives in Beverly.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes Shoebert swam through a drainage pipe during high tide from Beverly Harbor into Shoe Pond.

“It’s quite the adventure for him,” said Ainsley Smith, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries.

On Thursday NOAA, along with Animal Control and the Beverly Fire Department tried to rescue Shoebert, but he kept swimming away.

“It’s okay being in the pond, we are concerned that it could come up on the grass, cross the street, cross the parking lot and we don’t want any people to be in its way when that happens,” said Smith.

Crews were on standby all evening to get Shoebert out of the pond.

“We have several large kennels here, so we would use the boards to corral it into that kennel and then take it off sight to see if he’s healthy,” said Smith.

But after several hours, the rescue attempt was unsuccessful, so Shoebert gets at least one more night to roam free in this pond.

“But it’s fun right now, so I’ve heard that he’s safe, he doesn’t have any predators,” said Wrenn.

NOAA says their teams will wait for a good opportunity to try to catch Shoebert again.

Then they don’t plan on releasing him back in the ocean here because they’re afraid he’ll get stuck in this pond again.

He’ll likely be brought to the Mystic Aquarium, where he could be released in a quieter place after getting checked out.

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