The Mystic Aquarium is celebrating a life-saving surgery on a seal.
Bristol, an eight-year-old harbor seal, was cleared to return to her habitat at the Mystic Aquarium this week. After months of healing, she made her return Tuesday and was greeted with cheering and excitement from trainers.
In mid-October, the team that cares for Bristol at the aquarium noticed something was not right. Veterinarians ultimately ran tests in their lab, on-site, and determined that Bristol had a severe infection and needed surgery to remove her uterus.
"This condition was incredibly serious and life-threatening," said Dr. Molly Martony, a senior veterinarian at the aquarium.
Bristol underwent surgery in Mystic Aquarium's surgical suite, which is not far from Bristol's habitat. She stayed indoors for months, healing, and returned to her habitat Tuesday.
"She's just about completely healed, eating well, doing all of her behaviors well," said Jen Rock, who has been Bristol's trainer for the last eight years.
Bristol was transferred to Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program in 2013 after she was found stranded in Maine. Because of chronic eye and ear issues, she has lived at the aquarium ever since.
Thanks to the surgery, the team at the aquarium said she should have plenty of years ahead.
"It's so joyful for everyone involved to be able to save this animal's life and get her back to full health," said Dr. Martony.