Tom Brady may have the GOAT title. But his wife and supermodel Gisele Bündchen now has a marine animal named after her. Take that, TB12.
“Giseal Bündchen,” a harbor seal pup that was found abandoned by its mother on a Maine beach this summer, will be released back into the ocean Tuesday after spending months at a rehabilitation facility on Buzzards Bay.
Kathy Zagzebski, executive director of the National Marine Life Center , the only seal hospital in northern New England, said Giseal will be set free on Scusset Beach, a state reservation at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal, around 4:30 p.m. The event is open to the public. For those who can’t make it, the center will stream the release live on Facebook.
Giseal arrived at the National Marine Life Center in June, after she was discovered alone on Chebeague Island, in Maine.
Zagzebski said harbor seal pups are often left by their mothers when they go out in search of food.
She said the reasons for a mother not reconnecting with the pups can vary. In some cases, the pups will move to another beach in their mother’s absence. When the mother returns, the pups are nowhere in sight. In other instances, there could be too many people on the beach nearby, scaring off the mother.
When Giseal arrived to the center this summer, she was still maternally dependent — this means she could not survive on her own — and wasn’t eating. Staff and volunteers had to initially feed her a special milk-based formula, mixed with vitamins and fish oil, before later switching to fish they placed in her tank.
“We had to tube feed her five times per day for over a month,” said Zagzebski. “Then we gradually had to teach her how to eat on her own. It’s a long process.”
Giseal had also developed a serious ear infection, known as “otitis media,” which the staff had to tend to.
Now that the seal is in good health, and knows how to go after prey without the assistance of humans, the center is celebrating her freedom from the tank. She will be tagged with a satellite device that will allow experts to track and observe her depth in the wild as she continues to recover from the infection.
For those wondering, Giseal got her name after a brainstorming with staff and volunteers, following her arrival at the National Marine Life Center. The center picks a new theme each year when naming its patients. For the last two seasons the theme has been “Seal-ebrities.”
“We have a lot of fun with it,” said Zagzebski. “It changes every year, but they like this theme so much we have stuck with it.”
In years prior, they have named seals after herbs and spices — everything from Onion Flake to Oregano and Sassafras — and scholars. One time, they released a pup named Seal deGrasse Tyson.
Giseal won’t be alone in exploring her new home in the ocean.
A second harbor seal pup, which the nonprofit named “Sealonardo DiCaprio,” after Hollywood hearthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, will also race towards the Cape waters on Tuesday, alongside his counterpart.
Sealonardo was rescued in May, also in Maine. A rescue group observed the seal for several days before taking him in and then turning him over to the center.
“He was a pretty sick animal for quite awhile,” Zagzebski said.
Sealonardo’s pending release came as somewhat of a surprise — a specialist cleared him for take-off on Tuesday.
“Turns out, we are releasing two for the price of one,” said Zagzebski. “They can have company.”