Seal Untangled After Two Years on the Run - NBC Bay Area

Seal Untangled After Two Years on the Run

'Mr. Elusive' finally got rid of the red packing strap stuck around his neck.



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    After his wounds were treated, "Mr. Elusive" was able to return to the ocean.

    An elephant seal with an entanglement around his neck was finally untangled this week after two years of evading rescue at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

    The more than 700-pound male elephant seal known as "Mr. Elusive" was spotted on Tuesday near Drake's Beach, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

    A rescue crew and volunteers sedated the seal and removed the thick red packing strap stuck around his neck. After his wounds were cleaned, Mr Elusive returned back to sea.

    "It's what we all work for," said Bill Van Bonn, Director of Veterinary Science at the center. "And it's gratifying when it all goes this smoothly, especially after such a long time tracking this animal."

    The northern elephant seal is the second largest seal in the world, with males weighing up to 4,500 pounds. It spends most of its time underwater, which makes it hard to spot.

    In the past, the seals were hunted so much they nearly became extinct. In 1910, it was estimated there were less than 100 alive. But today there are about 150,000 elephant seals and most live in the water off the California coast.

    In November 2011, the center untangled a different seal known as "Green Tie," which had a green packing strap stuck around its neck.