Seward, Alaska — The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted a northern fur seal pup to the Wildlife Response Program on Jan. 31, 2023. Fur seals are relatively uncommon wildlife response patients, and have not been cared for at the ASLC since 2017.
The female pup, estimated to be around six months old, was seen swimming erratically near the shore in Sitka, Alaska. Her abnormal behavior worried local residents, who reported the pup to the ASLC 24-hour stranding hotline (1-888-774-7325). Sitka is an unusual location to see northern fur seals this time of year, which raised concerns for her survival by ASLC staff. After receiving approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the animal was transported to the Center for treatment.
The main concerns found by the ASLC veterinary team upon the initial admit exam were dehydration, malnourishment and signs of an unknown infection found in her bloodwork. Despite these concerns, she was observed to be active and alert when handled. The team found no evidence of severe physical trauma; however, noted that the pup seems smaller than average for her age. Staff are currently providing initial treatments and examining the patient further to understand more details about her condition.
The Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program can only provide care for stranded and injured marine animals with help from federal grants, corporate sponsors and individual donors. Those interested are encouraged to contribute to the care of rehabilitating marine animals here: www.alaskasealife.org/donate. The Center acknowledges the ongoing generous support of its Wildlife Response Program from companies like ConocoPhillips, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Matson, PetZoo, GCI and a number of individual donors, funds and foundations such as The Stanley J. Williams Fund, Mesara Family Foundation and The NC Giving Fund.
Call ﬁrst! Before approaching an injured or stranded marine animal in Alaska, call the 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-774-SEAL(7325).
ASLC Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit research institution and public aquarium in Seward, Alaska. The Center generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The ASLC is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.
Photo provided by the Alaska Sea Life Center.