11/24/13 12:00pm
11/24/2013 12:00 PM
BILL PETERS PHOTO

BILL PETERS PHOTO

Five months ago, Penny was found stranded on the beach near the Sands Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, not even a week old with her mother nowhere in sight.

But on Saturday, the young seal pup returned home.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation released the now 6-month-old rescued seal off Iron Pier beach as a crowd gathered to see her off. The foundation had nursed the seal, which was still dependent on its mother at the time of its rescue.

As a pup, Penny still needed the nutrients and high fat content that she would normally get from her mother’s milk. Penny was tube fed a special milk replacement formula that helped her gain weight.

The seal can now eat fish on its own and has grown to be a strong enough seal pup to be released, according to the Riverhead Foundation website.

psquire@timesreview.com