There had to be a first, right?

Somebody's always the first of the season to be rescued. In 2024, it looks like that luck goes to this grey little seal pup who was found along New Jersey's coastline in early January. The experts at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine say this little beauty isn't more than a baby.

According to a recent Facebook post, the MMSC has revealed the first seal needing to be rescued from NJ's beaches this year. It's a boy! He's super cute, too. They say that at the time of rescue, he hadn't even completely shed his Lanugo yet. "Lanugo" is what is referred to as a seal's birthing coat. The have it for a few weeks post-birth, but usually are rid of it by the time they officially enter the juvenile stage of development.

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In the pictures they posted, you can see the lanugo on this precious boy's tiny flippers!

If you're wondering what happened for him to need rescuing in the first place, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center says that he had been beached for a few hours, but once it was clear that he had no interest in returning to the water, they knew something was wrong.

At the time of intake on January 12th, the pup appeared to the professionals to be about a month or so old. Because he was so thin, they're assuming he didn't learn how to properly hunt for himself. They're assuming he came down to Jersey from Maine, a popular breeding ground, and having not eaten much, was too weak to resume his water journey.

This little guy is extremely lucky. After being examined, it was determined that the journey from up north caused the grey seal pup to shed pounds that he wound up back at his birth weight.

After being cared for at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine for a few days, it's clear that he's doing much better. They say he's even put on a few pounds.

We're rooting for you, buddy! Isn't he so cute??

Here's a pro-tip for you: if you see a stranded seal, don't try to approach it! Especially if you have your dog with you...

See A Stranded Seal? Experts Share Urgent Warning To New Jersey Pet Owners

Marine experts are speaking out to New Jersey residents and pet owners - do not approach a seal if you see one stranded on the beach.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Murray

This Gray Seal Calls Joe and Jahna "Mom" & "Dad"

As a result of spreading awareness of marine mammals and their welfare throughout South Jersey, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has made Joe and Jahna "seal parents".

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