HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – A seal made its way to shore again in Horry County Wednesday.
This time, one was spotted at the southernmost access point of Myrtle Beach State Park. Park officials tell News13 this is a gray seal. They say this one was released from the Virginia Aquarium after it was tagged.
Park ranger Ann Wilson tells News13 the seal is under a year old and officials do not believe it is injured.
It appeared on the sand around 11 a.m. Wednesday, and is still there, as of 8 p.m.
A News13 photographer captured the seal rolling around in the sand, stretching and scratching its chin as the sun went down.
Police are making sure that no one gets too close to the animal.
This comes three months after an harbor seal washed up near 30th Avenue North. SCDNR said that seal appeared to have a shark bite injury to its flipper.
In late December, a seal was spotted once again in Horry County. Officials at that time were not sure if it was the same seal as the one a few weeks prior.
Since the NOAA began counting in 1994, there have been fewer than 30 sightings of seals in South Carolina. The NOAA says harbor seals are usually found in the Atlantic Ocean from Canada to New York.
Dr. Rob Young, a marine scientist for Coastal Carolina University, told News13 in December that seals sometimes swim south when the water is colder.
“They’re here every winter,” said Dr. Young. “Usually, you see one or two at a time. A few years ago, we had a couple that would haul out regularly in Murrells Inlet on the jetties for several weeks. We had similar things in Little River.”