By CBSLA Staff

LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — A female harbor seal is making the Big Apple her new home after being found abandoned near Abalone Point in Laguna Beach.

(credit: Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

Sidney was only hours old and likely born prematurely when she was discovered on a rocky beach with her umbilical cord still attached in February 2020. When her mother did not come back for her, she was rescued by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

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After a year of rehabilitation, Sidney gained weight, but did not develop the skills needed to survive in the wild, according to the rescue group. After receiving requests from the PMMC and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the New York Aquarium agreed to be Sidney’s new home.

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“As New Yorkers come to see Sidney, she will be an endearing ambassador for her species and other marine life, which we believe will have a positive impact on the way people think about and engage with nature,” Craig Piper, interim director of the new York Aquarium and WCS Director of City Zoos, said in a statement.

(credit: Julie Larsen Maher/New York Aquarium)

Animal care staff from the New York Aquarium spent several days at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to bond with Sidney, who was deemed ready to make the cross-country move once she voluntarily entered her transport crate, according to officials. She arrived in November at the New York Aquarium, where she now lives in the Sea Cliffs exhibit and has formed a close bond with Murphy, another female harbor seal born at the aquarium last summer.

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Harbor seals are common to both Southern California and New York waters, where their numbers are rising due to conservation efforts and laws protecting them.