A female harbor seal pup was admitted to the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program on Wednesday after being spotted on a small beach near the center by members of the public. The seal was found to be losing weight and the center was given approval by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to pick it up.
“This patient luckily had to travel less than one minute to receive care at the Center,” a release from the Alaska SeaLife Center said.
Upon arrival at the center, the seal was found to be suffering from malnourishment, dehydration and intestinal parasites by a veterinary team. That team was said to be monitoring the seal to fully understand the severity of its condition.
In the wild, harbor seals face the biggest threats from humans, sharks, Steller sea lions and killer whales and can be found mostly in fresh and salt water. According to the Alaska SeaLife Center, harbor seals frequent estuaries and tidal zones and are often seen near sandbars, rocky shores, mudflats, log rafts, piers and ice floats.
While harbor seal populations are considered stable worldwide, an 80% decline in seals’ Arctic populations has been reported over the last 30 years.
“Their population in Alaska is considered depleted,” the SeaLife Center’s website says.
More information on the Alaska SeaLife Center and on harbor seals can be found at alaskasealife.org.