Alaska SeaLife Center Press Release –
Seward, AK – May 13, 2014 – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) has admitted its first stranded marine mammal of 2014, a one-week-old spotted seal pup from Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay. A local resident picked up the female pup on April 30 after searching the area for other seals and receiving authorization for the rescue from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and ASLC. Grant Aviation and PenAir provided transportation of the pup to Anchorage where it was met by ASLC’s wildlife responders.
When the week-old pup arrived at the Alaska SeaLife Center on May 1, she weighed 9.6 kilograms (21 pounds). She is currently being fed five times a day with a formula created specifically for seals that contains all of the nutrients and calories she needs to grow. Upon admission the pup had a white lanugo coat, normal for neonatal spotted seals, but the lanugo shed naturally during her first week at the Center. She is currently in “good but guarded” condition.
Spotted seals are a species of ice seal and generally give birth on pack ice. NOAA has determined that ice seals rehabilitated outside of their usual range are not releasable; therefore, the pup will be cared for at ASLC until a long-term placement facility is identified. Visitors to the Alaska SeaLife Center can view the spotted seal in the I.Sea.U critical care unit through viewing windows near the Discovery Touch Pool.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as seals, walrus and sea otters. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to spotted seals with the authorization of NOAA. Once a seal is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.
Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Tara Riemer Jones explained, “We have no federal or state funding to care for stranded marine mammals, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and BP Alaska for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue and oil spill response readiness.”
The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction, which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The Alaska SeaLife Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org.
The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, and encourages people who have found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal. Call first! 1-888-774-SEAL