A gray seal pup found along the shore in Long Island has a broken jaw and isn't eating, but he is recovering and expected to make it.
"We think he will be able to use the jaw to eat again soon," said Julika Wocial, the Riverhead Foundation's rescue program supervisor.
The 50-pound seal was discovered along the shore at Robert Moses state park's field five Sunday.
The male pup injured its lower jaw either playing with another seal or by hitting some rocks, said Wocial.
The seal, which does not yet have a name, is one of 15now being nursed back to health at the marine hospital.
Most are gray seals that turned up injured, malnourished or dehydrated at a time of year when seal sightings on Long Island are common.
The foundation's rescue hotline can receive up to 20 calls a day from beachgoers who have spotted seals. Some even forward cell phone pictures to help rescuers determine if the seals really need help.
Beachgoers should stay away from seals they may find on the shore, rescuers said. Federal law requires a distance of 50 yards, but there's another good reason why humans should stay back.
"The seals look very cute," said Wocial. "A lot of people say they look like dogs and in a way, they do, but if you try to touch them, they will bite you."
It typically takes about two months for injured seals to heal. During that time, patrons of the foundation will "adopt" the seals and will be kept updated on their recoveries.
Gray seals can grow to be as large as 800 pounds.
One gray seal, rescued from the shore in Montauk back in February, will be returned to the ocean Tuesday morning in Hampton Bays.
The Riverhead Foundation's 24-hour rescue hotline is 631-369-9829.