- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

WATERFORD, N.Y. (AP) - After spending the summer in the Hudson River 150 miles north of the Atlantic Ocean, a seal was captured on Friday and will be returned to the sea off Long Island.

The New York State Canal Corp. drained a lock in Waterford on Friday so the gray seal could be captured. The seal had been in the area since at least July, when it was spotted upriver from the lock by a canal worker in a kayak. State officials decided to relocate it before the river freezes.

Biologist Rob DiGiovanni of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation oversaw the seal’s capture in a net and transfer to a transport crate. He said the foundation will put a satellite tracker on the seal before releasing it off Long Island.

DiGiovanni said smaller harbor seals occasionally swim up to Albany, but it’s rare for the larger gray seal to travel so far inland.

Gray seals can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 900 pounds. This one was about four feet long and 200 pounds and appeared to be about 2 years old, DiGiovanni said.

A yellow tag on its flipper showed the seal had previously been captured and released by the foundation, he said.

Canal spokesman Shane Mahar said pumping out the lock wasn’t disruptive because the canal system is closed to traffic for the winter and workers had planned to pump the water out of that lock for periodic maintenance.

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