ASLC admits two more harbor seal pups, bringing total number of patients to six

ASLC admits two more harbor seal pups, bringing total number of patients to six

ASLC admits two more harbor seal pups, bringing total number of patients to six

The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Wildlife Response Program now has six harbor seal pups under its care after the admission of two new patients — a male from Naknek admitted on June 17, and a female from Wrangell admitted on June 22.

The first pup was spotted by locals at a site in Naknek and reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wildlife Refuge in King Salmon, AK, who contacted ASLC. Photos showed the pup was in poor condition, prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to authorize pickup. However, rescue efforts were complicated when the pup returned to the water and became entangled in a net before responders arrived. Fortunately, locals were able to free the pup, and it was transferred to a USFWS biologist and driven to a local airport for a flight to Anchorage. Here, staff from NOAA were able to coordinate the final leg of its journey to the ASLC for care.

The second pup was spotted in Wrangell, AK, hauled out on a rocky beach where seals are not typically seen. This raised concerns for two local beach walkers who reached out to NOAA. The seal’s skinny condition suggested prolonged separation from its mother, leading NOAA to approve rescue efforts. When a flight that night could not be coordinated, the observers mobilized help from fellow rescue members and were able to give it medical treatments overnight. Transportation to Anchorage was arranged the following day thanks to Alaska Airlines cargo staff in Wrangell. The seal arrived safely and was transported to the ASLC.

In addition to low weight, dehydration, and malnourishment, additional complications required quick action from veterinary staff. For the Naknek pup, a dangerously high body temperature was the most immediate concern. Meanwhile, the Wrangell pup arrived with persistent tremors due to a lack of nourishment. The team is currently providing initial stabilizing treatments to both patients and keeping a close watch to ensure the best possible chance of survival. Updates will be shared on the ASLC’s Facebook and Instagram pages as they become available.

The ASLC Wildlife Response Program can only succeed with help from corporate sponsors and individual donors. The Center acknowledges ongoing support from ConocoPhillips Alaska, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, PetZoo, Partners 4 Wildlife, Matson, GCI, and a number of individual donors, funds, and foundations such as the Stanley J Williams Fund and the Theresa Bannister Legacy Fund. Those interested in contributing to the care of these patients can visit the ASLC’s website: www.alaskasealife.org/donate.