Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program in Seward has two new patients: a harbor seal pup who climbed aboard a charter fishing boat in Resurrection Bay, and a sea otter pup found vocalizing on top of his moribund mother on a remote beach in the western Kenai Peninsula.
Both were taken in for treatment after permission was received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The little male harbor seal boarded the boat near Hive Island, about 15 miles south of Seward on Aug. 22 and the male sea otter pup was rescued on Sept. 7.
ASLC staff who met the boat in the Seward harbor said the harbor seal pup’s exhausted appearance and quiet behavior made it clear he needed immediate medical attention, so the pup was transported to ASLC for treatment.
An initial exam by veterinary staff determined the seal to be about two months old and likely separated from his mother or weaned prematurely. Major concerns were malnourishment, dehydration and lethargy. Some wounds were also found on his flippers, but once hydrated with fluids, the seal began eating fish on his own. The pup is currently undergoing additional stabilizing treatment and being continuously monitored.
The male sea otter pup was reported to the ASLC 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline (888-774-7325) on Sept. 7 after being observed vocalizing on top of a female sea otter who was barely moving or breathing. The ASLC team determined that she would likely not survive being transported back to Seward for treatment, so they focused on her pup, who was estimated to be about four months old. When the original observers were able to return to the remote site the next day, they found the pup’s mother was deceased.
The otter pup was found to be underweight but otherwise alert and strong. After an exam, he swam energetically and ate solid food. He is being closely monitored for signs of illness or other challenges.