The Alaska SeaLife Center announced Wednesday that it had admitted two new patients to their Wildlife Response Program.
A harbor seal pup was rescued on Aug. 22 after it climbed onto the deck of a fishing boat in Resurrection Bay.
A press release says that staff from the SeaLife Center immediately recognized that the pup required medical attention due to its “exhausted appearance and quiet behavior.”
The animal was found to be only 2 months old, suffering malnourishment, dehydration and lethargy. Veterinary staff believe it was either separated from its mother or weaned prematurely. They also found wounds on its flippers, the center said.
Since coming into care at the SeaLife Center, the pup is already back to eating fish on its own, though the release notes that starvation recovery can be a slow process. The seal pup will continue to be monitored so rescuers can understand the severity of his condition.
The second rescue, of a sea otter pup, took place on Sept. 7. A call was received by the center’s 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline, reporting a pair of otters off a remote beach on the western Kenai Peninsula.
Photos and a description of the scene from the caller portrayed a mother otter in “dire” condition. She was barely moving or breathing, and her pup was vocalizing on top of her.
Professionals from the SeaLife Center determined that the mother would not survive transport back to Seward, and focused on saving the pup. They estimated him to be around 4 months old, and incapable of surviving on his own.
The original observers who reported the animals returned to the site the next day and verified that the mother had died.
After arriving at the SeaLife Center, the otter pup was found to be “underweight, but otherwise alert and strong.” He was swimming and eating without perceivable problems.
The pup will be monitored for signs of illness and for the quality of his fur coat.