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Andre the Celebrity Seal Is Dead

July 20, 1986

ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) _ Andre the Seal, who swam each spring to Maine from southern New England and whose tricks delighted tourists and aquarium visitors, was found dead over the weekend and laid to rest, his trainer said Sunday.

″We had a little impromptu service when we buried him,″ trainer Harry A. Goodridge said. Members of Goodridge’s family gathered for the observance and Andre was buried in Goodridge’s back yard, near family pets.

″He’s lived a good life,″ said Goodridge, who raised Andre after finding him as an abandoned two-day-old pup in 1961.

The harbor seal’s body was found Saturday on a deserted stretch of shore in Rockland, about eight miles from his summer home, a floating pen in the harbor here, said Goodridge.

Goodridge had last seen the 25-year-old seal in June, when Andre seemed uncharacteristically sluggish after apparently losing a mating-season fight.

Goodridge said he received a tip Saturday that the body of a seal resembling the 5-foot-long, 250-pound Andre had been spotted on shore.

Goodridge and a veterinarian confirmed it was Andre by the seal’s size and scars.

Andre spent eight of his last 10 winters at the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., or the New England Aquarium in Boston, but was released each spring to swim to his summer home, said Mystic spokeswoman Laura Kezer.

Andre, who suffered from cataracts in his final years, was blind when he made his final swim from Massachusetts in 1985, said Goodridge.

In past years, Andre had emerged physically scarred but exuberant after his battles for dominance with other male seals, said Goodridge.

″He used to be king, when he was out free,″ said Goodridge. ″I think he has been dethroned, due to his age.″

When Andre was spotted in Rockland on June 14, he was not only bruised and scraped but also appeared tired and depressed, shunning a crowd that gathered to watch him.

Late Saturday, Goodridge recalled Andre in his prime.

″He was just great. He just loved to entertain people,″ he said.

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