BEVERLY, MASS. (WHDH) – Shoebert the seal is finally in the care of authorities after evading capture for weeks while living in a Beverly pond, where he drew crowds of adoring fans.
The town’s beloved marine mammal had been evading capture after mysteriously appearing in Shoe Pond a few weeks ago. Police said Shoebert slid up to the station and surrendered early this morning.
Rescuers from Beverly Animal Control, the fire department and marine animal experts all jumped into action to help him out. They said they were able to corral him in a crate without too much effort and that he appears to be in good health.
“They tried to open the gate and get him into the parking lot but that didn’t work so we ended up making a circle on the grass and surrounding him with plastic tables,” said one of the rescuers.
Shoebert gained popularity, becoming a local celebrity as many locals visited the pond to see him in action.
“It’s really like a kid’s book come to life, ‘Free Willy’ has got nothing on Shoebert,” said Shoebert fan Chris Wrenn. “[I] came here with my daughter yesterday and we got to watch him swim around so it’s been a lot of fun.”
Wildlife experts said Shoebert needed to be captured for his own safety. They tried for days to get him and even attempted to grab him Thursday night to no avail.
“It just didn’t really get within reach,” said Kate Sampson, a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “There was one time where we could, it was within range and we tried for it but we couldn’t grab it.”
Beverly’s favorite formerly rogue seal is now at the Mystic Aquarium for observation before he’s released.
“As long as he is healthy, we hope to get him out very soon,” one of the rescuers said.
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