: Olympia :
Species: Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)
  Narrative

5-2-12: A female harbor seal pup has been found in Haines, AK. She still has her white fluffy coat called lanugo, which indicates she was born prematurely. Under the guidance of the Alaska SeaLife Center's Rehabilitation team, the pup was picked up and brought to the Haines Animal Rescue Shelter for initial care. On a flight donated by Air Excursion, the 2 day old pup was then transported to Juneau where she received further stabilization before arriving at the ASLC. Thank you to Rachael Berngartt, DVM for her care and work with the AK Standing Network, and to Alaska Airlines for their continued support.

5-4-12: For 24 hours after being admitted to the ASLC's rehabilitation facility, the pup was rehydrated with a gatorade-like fluid called Aminoplex. Today she started the transition to harbor seal formula, which is a milky formula designed to best replace that of a harbor seal mother. She is being tube-fed in order to avoid imprinting onto humans so she can be released into the wild when she is strong and healthy.

5-6-12: Today the pup had her first supervised swim time! Although harbor seal pups can swim when they are born, she is not yet able to regulate her body temperature. Her swims will be kept short and in a warmed salt water.

5-9-12: The pup has lost all of her lanugo, and now has her unique spotted coat of a harbor seal.

5-11-12: As her swim times increase in length and frequency, the pup continues to become more active.

5-14-12: Our seal pup has a name! Following our 2012 theme of "Olympics," Conoco Phillips named her Olympia. Thanks to Conoco Phillips for their significant donation to the rehabilitation program.

5-17-12: Olympia continues to grow stronger every day, and has proven to be quite the feisty little pup.

5-20-12: Today was Olympia's first day of fish school! She will be given live fish during her swim times from now on, until instinct kicks in and she learns to eat them.

5-24-12: Olympia has been chasing fish like crazy. Yesterday she started to grab on to them with her mouth and swim around with them. She hasn't quite figured out that they are meant to be eaten yet.

6-1-12: Today Olympia and Hurdles moved outside. They each get their own "condo" - an area where they are sheltered from heavy rain or sun, and their caretakers can control their access to a pool.

6-8-12: Olympia is doing well in fish school, tracking and catching live fish. She is also spending days and nights outside now.

6-13-12: Olympia's weight has more than doubled since she arrived at the ASLC. At six weeks old, she would be just about to leave her mother if she were in the wild. We are still trying to wean her onto fish.

6-17-12: Olympia is making slow progress in fish school, but is starting to show some interest in the pieces of herring that are being offered before each feed.

6-23-12: The fish eating switch has turned on in Olympia - the other day she ate all of her fish during fish school! She is now being fed whole herring as her complete diet. She has also been moved to a larger pool, where she has water access 24 hours a day.

6-28-12: Today Olympia and Hurdles are spending some time in the same pool, competing for fish.

7-4-12: Happy 4th! Olympia and Hurdles are celebrating by eating plenty of fish and gaining weight!

7-11-12: Olympia has been seen squinting her right eye a lot recently. An ASLC veterinarian examined her, and prescribed an ophthalmic solution.

7-13-12: Today a tag was applied to one of Olympia's rear flippers to help identify her after her release.

7-18-12: Olympia's eyes seem to have improved. An eye specialist will be visiting soon to determine if further treatment will be needed.

8-5-12: A lot has happened over the past two weeks! The visiting eye specialist gave us good news - Olympia's eyes won't be needing any further treatment. She has moved to the largest pre-release pool with four other seals, where she can compete for fish while having minimal contact with her human caretakers.

8-24-12: Olympia and Picabo were released today in Juneau, AK!

 



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