BEVERLY, MASS. (WHDH) — Shoebert the Seal is finally in the custody of authorities after weeks of evading capture while living in a Beverly pond, where he drew crowds of adoring fans.
The city’s beloved marine mammal had evaded capture after mysteriously appearing in Shoe Pond a few weeks ago. Police said Shoebert skidded to the train station at 2:30 am this morning and turned himself in to the authorities.
Rescuers from Beverly Animal Control, the fire department and marine animal experts all jumped into action to help him. They said they were able to lock him up in a box with little effort and he appears to be in good health.
“They tried to open the gate and get him into the parking lot, but that didn’t work, so we ended up making a circle on the lawn and surrounding it with plastic tables,” said one of the rescuers.
Shoebert rose in popularity and became a local celebrity with many locals visiting the pond to see it in action.
“It’s really like a children’s book coming to life, ‘Free Willy’ has nothing to do with Shoebert,” said Shoebert fan Chris Wrenn. “[I] I came here yesterday with my daughter and we got to watch him swim so it was a lot of fun.”
Wildlife experts said Shoebert needed to be captured for his own safety. They tried to get him for days and even tried to nab him Thursday night to no avail.
“It just wasn’t really within reach,” said Kate Sampson, a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “There was a time when we could, it was within reach and we tried but we couldn’t grab it.”
Beverly’s former favorite seal is now at the Mystic Aquarium for observation before being released.
“As long as he’s healthy, we hope to get him out very soon,” said one of the rescuers.
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