NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A ten-month old seal has returned to the wild after a life-saving surgery.
The pup survived what was believed to be a shark attack, and with the help of some volunteers made a full recovery.
In late October veterinary surgeon Dr. Laura Culbert donated her skills to remove an infected piece of bone from one of the seal's rear flippers, possibly the result of a shark bite.
The seal spent six months at Brigantine's Marine Mammal Stranding Center after beaching herself last spring.
Experts knew she'd be able to return to the wild, with a new id tag, when she started swimming two weeks after the surgery.
"Getting to fruition is just amazing. Amazing. It touches my heart, really," Dr. Culbert says.
The timing of the seal's release is key.
It had to happen at low tide when there are hardly any currents in the water.
After a good seven minutes, instinct took over, leading the young seal away from the people who worked so hard to send her home.