Adorable Otters! ASLC Announces Otter Encounter Tours
March 14, 2016

Seward, Alaska (March 10, 2016) - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is inviting visitors to get a closer look at the adorable and charismatic sea otters currently in residence at the Center, including a tiny fur ball of a pup. This is the first time the public can view these otters.
 
Each of the otters was admitted to the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program after being stranded in various locations across Southcentral Alaska as far back as July of last summer and as recently as March. The ASLC, a non-profit organization, is the only permitted marine mammal wildlife rehabilitation entity in Alaska.
 
In addition to viewing from the Center’s general admission areas and “I.Sea.U.” overlook, for a limited time this spring, the sea otters are the latest animals to be added to the list of ASLC Animal Encounter Tours.
 
“I tell people who come to see the otters, don’t worry about how cute they are, let me tell you how cool they are,” says Emmy Wood, an ASLC mammalogist who specializes in otter care.
 
The 30-min Otter Encounter Tours are led by expert animal care givers from the ASLC and are suitable for ages 6 and up. Visitors will learn more about sea otters, a highly specialized keystone species in the marine ecosytem. Participants will also have the opportunity to join animal care givers to observe a feeding or animal enrichment session in the outdoor otter pool.
 
Young otters are entirely dependent on their mothers for up to nine months. Admitting the tiny patients to the Center’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program means standing in for otter moms to provide constant care for the duration, teaching them all the skills they need to survive from basic potty training and grooming – and the laundry that goes with that – to teaching the otters how to forage for food.
 
ASLC general admission is $21.95 Adults (13+), $19.95 Seniors (65+), $11.95 Child (4-12), Free for 3 & under. Alaska resident and U.S. military discounts avaialable. Otter Encounter Tours cost $24.95 per person for adults (13 and older) and $19.95 per person for children ages 6 -12 in addition to general admission. Minimum age for Otter Encounter Tour is 6 years old. Maximum of 12 people per tour. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Limited space available. To book a reservation please call our Reservation Hotline 1-888-378-2525 or email visitaslc@alaskasealife.org. Proceeds from admission and tours support the work of the ASLC, a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium.
 
About the ASLC
Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. It 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.
High resolution photos and full story available from media@alaskasealife.org; 907-224-6397.
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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients
February 3, 2016

Seward, Alaska (January 22, 2016) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2016 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources. The Alaska SeaLife Center appreciates the support provided by the award sponsors and thanks the Awards Committee members: Denby Lloyd, Molly McCammon, Lisa Busch, Ian Dutton, Jason Brune, Michael Castellini and Phyllis Shoemaker for assistance in selecting the awardees.

Two of the awards will be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on January 25, 2016 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska. The remaining awards will be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala on February 13, 2016 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org or contact Nancy Anderson, nancya@alaskasealife.org or 907-224-6396.

Following are the 2016 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award winners:

Captain Ed Page will receive the prestigious Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. The late Governor Walter J. Hickel and his wife Ermalee endowed this award for 10 years to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources over a period of 20 years or more. Through his tireless efforts to promote safety, stewardship, and environmental protection of the marine environment, Captain Ed Page has been an exemplary leader and public servant on behalf of Alaska's oceans. Even after 29 years of service with the United States Coast Guard, Captain Page chose not to retire. Instead, he put his extensive maritime experience, knowledge of marine law, contacts with the shipping industry, talent for communication, and passion for the ocean to good use by creating the Marine Exchange of Alaska in 2000. Under his leadership, the Marine Exchange of Alaska tracks and monitors over 2,000 vessels in the 1.2 million square miles of ocean bordering Alaska. The Marine Exchange makes it more likely that potential vessel-related problems at sea will be detected, thereby preventing unseen marine accidents. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

 The nonprofit organizationSeaShare will receive the Stewardship & Sustainability Award. This award is sponsored by Jason Brune, and honors an industry leader that demonstrates the highest commitment to sustainability of ocean resources. SeaShare leads our seafood industry in a collective effort to improve nutrition for the people served by our nation’s food bank network. SeaShare combines the generosity of fishermen with processors, service providers, and financial donors to generate high volumes of donated seafood. SeaShare started in 1994 with an Experimental Fishing Permit to retain Prohibited Species Bycatch in Dutch Harbor and use those valuable fish resources for hunger relief. Over 20 years later, SeaShare remains the only organization authorized by NMFS to coordinate donations from over 120 boats and shore plants in Alaska. To date, this has resulted in 4 million pounds of fish distributed in communities such as Anchorage, Kodiak, Juneau, Cordova, Fairbanks, St. Paul, Kotzebue, Galena, Nome, Diomede, Savoonga and Wales. It’s a great story of fishermen and processors who respect the resource and who want to see that fewer fish are wasted. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Sofia Astaburuaga will receive the Hoffman-Greene Ocean Youth Award, which is sponsored by Dale Hoffman.The award honors an individual or team of Alaskan youth ages 12-19 who have displayed a dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans. Sofia is an active member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, and is passionate about working with teens on issues related to climate change and the environment. She has worked on habitat restoration and resource monitoring efforts in Prince William Sound and the Chugach National Forest, as well as salmon habitat restoration through the Student Conservation Association. This past year, Sofia has been working with researchers at the University of Alaska to investigate the effects of plastics on seabirds in the Aleutians. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Arliss Sturgulewski will be recognized with the Ocean Ambassador Award. The Ocean Ambassador Award was created to recognize an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions in promoting public awareness and appreciation of Alaska’s oceans, coasts, and marine ecosystems. Arliss is well-known throughout the state of Alaska for her service in political office and on many key advisory committees related to marine research and outreach. She is an active champion for the wise use of Alaska’s resources. While serving in the Alaska State Senate from 1979 to 1993, Arliss was an advisor to the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission. She fought against foreign fishing in US waters and championed the Community Development Quota program that supports local Alaska communities and fisheries. She has also been a member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Advisory Council since 1992 and has served on the Alaska Sea Grant Program Statewide Advisory Committee since 2003. In these roles, she has been actively supportive of expanded marine research capacities in the state, as well as providing scholarship opportunities to students. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

Susan Saupe will receive the Marine Science Outreach Award. This award is given to a person, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ocean literacy via formal or informal education, media or other communications. It is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Susan grew up on Kodiak Island, earned a Master’s degree in Chemical Oceanography, and has conducted research at sea throughout Alaska. She has been with the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council since 1996, and drew on her previous experiences to build their science program. Her role as Director of Science and Research provides unique opportunities to bridge the gap between marine researchers and coastal communities. Susan includes outreach in each program component – whether talking about oceanography, contaminants monitoring, coastal habitat mapping and assessments, or oil fate and effects research – to build meaningful partnerships. By seeking commonalities, Susan leverages funding, logistics, and expertise to collect and deliver user-friendly information about Alaska’s marine environment to a wider range of research, educational, agency, industry, and community users. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

Dr. Gunnar Knapp was selected toreceive the Marine Research Award, sponsored by Drs. Clarence Pautzke and Maureen McCrea. This honor is given to a scientist, team of scientists, or an institution that is acknowledged by peers to have made an original breakthrough contribution to any field of scientific knowledge about Alaska’s oceans. Dr. Gunnar Knapp has been studying fisheries management, fisheries markets, and the world seafood industry for more than twenty-five years, focusing particularly on the Alaska salmon industry. Gunnar’s willingness and ability to build close links with all sectors of the industry make him an inspiration to researchers in his field.  During the 1990’s, he began the Salmon Market Information Service for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. He co-authored the major 1997 report “The Great Salmon Run: Competition between Wild and Farmed Salmon.” He has written numerous articles and reports on salmon markets, trends in limited entry permit ownership, the effects of halibut and crab IFQs, the Chignik salmon co-op, implications of climate change, and the economic impacts of Alaska fisheries. Dr. Knapp is closely engaged with the seafood industry and policy makers in Alaska. Currently, he is writing a book, The Economics of Fish, which is intended as an introduction to the insights provided by economics about fisheries, aquaculture and the seafood industry. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote 

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The 2016 Alaska Marine Gala is Proud to Announce Joel Sartore as Guest Speaker
January 23, 2016

Joel Sartore, Guest Speaker for 2016 Alaska Marine Gala

Seward, Alaska (January 22, 2016) -  Photographer, conservationist and National Geographic Fellow, Joel Sartore, is the guest speaker for the 2016 Alaska SeaLife Center’s annual fundraising event, the Alaska Marine Gala.
 
Sartore’s multimedia presentation will feature his work on endangered species and landscapes from around the world. Sartore is founder of Photo Ark, a multi-year documentary project to save species and habitats. Over 5,000 species have been photographed to date, including animals from the Alaska SeaLife Center.
 
The Alaska Marine Gala takes place Feb. 13 at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage. For event information and tickets, visit https://alaskasealife.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/2016AlaskaMarineGala/tabid/721528/Default.aspx.

 
About the ASLC
 
Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. ASLC's mission is to generate and share 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

 

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KTVA Comes to Alaska SeaLife Center to Better Understand Murre Die-Off
January 14, 2016

ASLC in the news

Seward, Alaska (January 14, 2016) - KTVA reporter, Heather Hintze, visited the Alaska SeaLife Center and spoke with our Avian Curator, Tasha Dimarzio, and Science Director, Tuula Hollmen to get the latest on efforts to understand what is currently impacting common murres. An unusual number of live murres have been sighted in the region for this time of year. Researchers and the public have also seen an exponentially higher murre die-off than what is typically associated with El Nino years, with thousands of birds washing up on Alaska’s shores. 

For the past five years, Hollmen and ASLC staff, working in partnership with National Park Service, have conducted monthly surveys of murres contributing to the baseline knowledge of these highly specialized seabirds. In addition to working with murres and other birds in the ASLC aviary, Dimarzio volunteers for the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey (COASST) helping partners enhance the regional understanding of seabirds. 

Hintze’s video and story can be found at http://www.ktva.com/seward-volunteers-tracking-dead-murre-numbers-across-alaska-794/.

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Volunteer this Summer for a FREE Waterfront RV Site!
January 7, 2016

The Alaska SeaLife Center is recruiting RV’ers for Interpretation, Ticketing, and Cafe volunteer positions for the 2016 season. An RV camping space with electric & water hook ups will be provided!

Before volunteering you will participate in training and receive additional information on each position.

·         Interpretation - As an interpretation volunteer you will help the Alaska SeaLife Center guests connect with our animals and appreciate our mission. This will be accomplished by interpreting live and static exhibits for our guests. You may also have daily interaction with education, exhibits, husbandry, and research personnel.

·         Ticketing/Café Cashier – As a cashier you would be responsible for front-line customer service, ticket sales, and café duties at the Center.

 

Applicants must be able to provide their own camping unit. An RV site will be provided on the shores of beautiful Resurrection Bay, within walking distance of the Center. The site is in the City of Seward waterfront campground and includes water, electricity, and refuse removal (there is a $5 dump fee). In exchange the Center asks for 20 hours of volunteering per week per person for a minimum of 6 weeks. The volunteer positions are open from May through September. The position duration is based on acceptable performance and will be reviewed for renewal. Depending on the volunteer position you are appointed to you may be subject to a background check. No salary is provided. Please visit our website at www.alaskasealife.org under volunteer for a list of benefits of volunteering at the Center. 

 

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. ASLC's mission is to generate and share 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

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Pick. Click. Give. to the Alaska SeaLife Center for a Chance to Double Your PFD Dividend!
January 1, 2016

Give to ASLC and enter to double your dividend!

Seward, Alaska (January 1, 2016) - Alaskans who file online for their PFD can help support the Alaska SeaLife Center - and enter into a drawing to double their PFD dividend by participating in Pick. Click. Give. prior to March 31.

This innovative program gives Alaskans a way to donate to their favorite nonprofit organizations including the Alaska SeaLife Center. For those who may not have given to an Alaska nonprofit in the past, the program provides a safe and secure way to make a donation. For those Alaskans who already support their favorite nonprofits, Pick.Click.Give. is a great way to make an additional gift. 

To make a gift today, visit http://pfd.alaska.gov/. If you have already filed, you can add or change your Pick. Click. Give. donation and simply select the Alaska SeaLife Center from  the list eligible organizations. You will be able to direct from $25 to the full amount of the dividend to eligible nonprofits or your choice.

 

About the ASLC

 

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. ASLC's mission is to generate and share 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

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Resident Octopus Released into Resurrection Bay for Mating
December 16, 2015

Seward, Alaska (December 16, 2015) - Egg, a giant Pacific octopus, was released back into the waters of Resurrection Bay on Dec. 16. Giant Pacific octopus are the largest known species of octopus in the world.

 

Egg was first found on Easter Sunday, 2012, making him the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Easter “Egg”. Back then Egg weighed less than 10 grams, or 0.02 pounds. At his last weigh in before his release, Egg weighed 31.9 kilograms – over 70 pounds!

 

Researchers at the Alaska SeaLife Center are trying to learn more about the juvenile stages of octopuses like Egg. They were able to observe Egg grow for nearly four years until he reached sexual maturity at which point he was released back into the waters of Resurrection Bay to find mates and begin a new generation.

 

For an underwater video of Egg’s release, visit the Alaska SeaLife Center on Facebook.  

 

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium. ASLC's mission is to generate and share 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

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Alaska SeaLife Center Mourns Passing of Steller Sea Lion, Woody
November 10, 2015

Seward, Alaska (November 10, 2015) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is saddened to announce the passing of Woody, a 22-year-old male Steller sea lion who was one of the Center’s original residents. Woody was humanely euthanized Monday following a rapid decline due to age-related complications.
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Alaska SeaLife Center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Team Works to Understand Cause of Increased Sea Otter Deaths
October 8, 2015

Anchorage, Alaska (October 8, 2015) – More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in the Kachemak Bay region in 2015.  Similar cases in the past have been linked to streptococcus related illnesses. A team of experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services, and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population. Despite the ongoing investigation, including exams and tests on the carcasses, the cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.
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Stranded Ice Seals Find Assistance through the Alaska SeaLife Center's Wildlife Response Program
September 1, 2015

Seward, AK – September 1, 2015 – This summer, two ice seals from the Bering Sea received much-needed medical care from the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response team. As the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, the Center’s Wildlife Response team has spent 17 years building a recognized expertise on caring for seals that have been found distressed. Every summer, the ASLC’s Wildlife Response program rehabilitates 6-12 harbor seals and may see ice seals every other year. This summer, two ice seals were admitted within one month of each other.
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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Wildlife Rescue Run
July 24, 2015

Seward, AK – July 24, 2015 –The Alaska SeaLife Center is hosting its 17th Annual 5K Wildlife Rescue Run/Walk on Saturday, August 1. The fundraiser supports the rescue and rehabilitation mission of the Center’s Wildlife Response Program. This has been a busy year for the program, which is currently caring for one spotted seal, one ringed seal, 6 harbor seals, and one Steller’s eider.
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Alaska SeaLife Center Admits First Stranded Seal of 2015
May 5, 2015

Seward, AK – April 30, 2015– The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) admitted its first stranded marine mammal for the 2015 season. The two-day-old female harbor seal pup was found abandoned on mud flats near Kachemak Drive in Homer, Alaska on April 24.

Staff from ASLC’s Wildlife Response Program were already in the Homer area conducting a volunteer training when the call came in from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Staff were then able to monitor the pup’s condition first-hand. Along with minor injuries, the pup still had her white lanugo coat, indicating she was born prematurely. After searching the area for her mother or other seals, the crew made the decision to bring the pup in. 

The newborn arrived at the Alaska SeaLife Center on April 25 weighing 8.1 kilograms (18 pounds). The pup, named Silky, is currently being fed five times a day with a formula created specifically for seals that contains all of the nutrients and calories needed to help seal pups grow. The pup is currently in stable condition and staff say she is very feisty.

Her feisty nature pairs well with this year’s naming theme: sharks. Staff chose the shark theme in celebration of ASLC’s 2015 Summer of Sharks. Silky is named after the silky shark species, a tropical shark with very smooth skin.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as harbor seals, walrus, and sea otters. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to harbor seals with the authorization of NOAA. Once a seal is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.

According to President and CEO, Dr. Tara Riemer, “The Alaska SeaLife Center has very limited federal funding and no state funding to care for marine mammals, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production and ConocoPhillips Alaska for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue and oil spill response readiness.”

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction, which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  The Alaska SeaLife Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds,and encourages people whohave found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal.  Call first!  1-888-774-SEAL

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Skates of Alaska have arrived!
April 27, 2015

The Skates of Alaska exhibit is now open at the Alaska SeaLife Center. This new tank in Underwater Viewing currently features a beautiful Bering Skate, while a small Alaska skate can be found in the microhabitat tank around the corner. These skates arrive just in time to complement our 2015 Summer of Sharks -- especially when you consider that skates could be described as sharks' "flatter" cousins! 

Come learn more about why researchers are studying skate nurseries in Alaska, and discover how researchers at the Alaska SeaLife Center contributed to a greater understanding of development time in skate embryos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer of Sharks Opens at the Alaska SeaLife Center
April 22, 2015

Seward, Alaska (April 17, 2015) - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) opens its doors to the Summer of Sharks. Headlining the season is the Buzz Saw Sharks of Long Ago exhibit on loan from the Idaho Museum of Natural History in collaboration with artist Ray Troll.

Areas around the aquarium are now transformed into the Paleozoic marine world of the humongous, whorl-toothed shark, the Helicoprion, via fossils, sculptures, and artwork. This prehistoric giant is the world's only animal - past or present - with a complete 360-degree spiral of teeth. Imagine a fearsome behemoth equipped with a circular blade of teeth and strong jaws that researchers believe crimped and cut its prey. The Buzz Saw Shark roamed the Permian Seas more than 270 million years ago.

Detailed artwork from Troll include a 17.5-foot-long by 8-foot-high mural of sharks, as well as 21 individual pieces. Children and adults alike will enjoy a humorous documentary film about the artist as they sit on a whorl-patterned "art couch," activate the whorl tooth mechanism, "walk the whorl," and ponder the incredible bite of a "large-as-life" Helicoprion head.

Obsessing over the prehistoric marine species for more than 20 years, Troll is now the go-to guy for all things Helicoprion. His colorful artwork combined with informational graphics explore a side of scientific history you have never seen before. Also opening April 17tth is the new Skates of Alaska exhibit, featuring the sharks' "flatter" cousins!

Summer of Sharks is open April 17th through September 7th.

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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces New Science Director
April 22, 2015

Seward, Alaska (April 7, 2015) - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Markus Horning as Science Director effective July 13, 2015. He will succeed Dr. Tuula Hollmén who has chosen to return to a full time research position at the Center following five years as Science Director.
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Welcome, Mara!
March 27, 2015

Seward, Alaska (March 18, 2015) - The Alaska SeaLife Center got a special delivery last week! Mara, an 11-year-old female, is the latest addition to ASLC's Steller sea lion family. Mara arrived on February 12 from the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. She was originally part of a research study at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Aquarium.

Here at the Center, Mara will join our Steller sea lion breeding program. The study focuses on the maternal care of females, as part of the Center’s research to better understand this endangered species. ASLC Marine Mammal Scientist Dr. Lori Polasek and her team are looking at the energetic cost of raising a pup from conception to weaning through hormone levels, pregnancy detection, and pup care.
So far, Mara has been exploring her new home and loves to play with her enrichment toys. Our animal care team will slowly introduce her to other resident sea lions before putting her on habitat. Dr. Polasek and her team are hoping for a successful encounter this summer with male Steller sea lion Pilot.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Endowment Fund
March 26, 2015

Seward, Alaska (March 18, 2015) –The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is pleased to announce the creation of the Alaska SeaLife Center Endowment Fund. A Board of Directors member, who wishes to remain anonymous, has donated stock establishing an endowment fund with the Alaska Community Foundation (ACF). The Alaska SeaLife Center Endowment Fund will support the ASLC in achieving its mission of generating and sharing scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.

Specifically, endowment funds generate a predictable stream of income for a nonprofit organization like ASLC, leaving a majority of the assets to grow in perpetuity. An endowment offers the flexibility to meet ASLC’s immediate needs while ensuring assets are always preserved for our long-term mission. The ACF protects the fund’s assets from being spent for any other purpose.

“Instead of just focusing on meeting our funding needs today, we are focusing on being here tomorrow. By establishing an endowment we are building a source of unrestricted operating revenue that will support us forever,” said ASLC President and CEO Dr. Tara Riemer.

For example, your gift today will be invested by the ACF and will earn returns every year from the moment you make it. That means a gift of $1,000 today is a gift of $50 every year permanently to the Alaska SeaLife Center.

The Alaska SeaLife Endowment Fund welcomes gifts of all kinds including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets. Gifts can be made online through the ACF at https://alaskacf.org/blog/funds/alaska-sealife-center-endowmentor by calling (907) 334-6700.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

About the ACF

Established in 1995, the Alaska Community Foundation is a statewide platform for philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter. Holding over $83 million in over 315 funds for the benefit of Alaskans, ACF grants $5-6 million each year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state. Our mission is to cultivate, celebrate and sustain all forms of philanthropy to strengthen Alaska’s communities forever. For more information, visit www.alaskacf.org.

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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces New Board Members
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (March 12, 2015) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is pleased to announce the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors. Board members serve as ambassadors to the Alaska SeaLife Center, while strengthening our partnership with Alaskan industries and communities.

“Our new members are joining a team of diverse individuals that provide tremendous benefits to the Center. All of our Board of Directors bring with them new ideas and a fresh perspective to further our mission of sustaining Alaska’s marine ecosystems,” said Alaska SeaLife Center Board Chairman, Mr. Stephen Grabacki.

These newly elected individuals will serve a two year term on the Board of Directors:

Ed Graff of the Anchorage School District.  Ed has been superintendent of the Anchorage School District since 2013. He began his teaching career in 1991 at Gladys Wood Elementary School and has worked in the Anchorage School District ever since. He became a principal in 2001, the executive director of Elementary Education in 2008, and the Chief Academic Officer in 2009. Originally from Minnesota, Ed has lived in several Alaska towns and villages, including Hooper Bay and Savoonga.

Glenn Reed of Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA). Glenn was born in Seward and grew up in Moose Pass. As President of PSPA since 1999, Glenn now lives in Seattle, spending a great deal of time traveling between Seattle and Alaska for fishing industry meetings. Glenn is a board member of the North Pacific Marine Science Foundation, North Pacific Fisheries Research Foundation, and SeaShare. He claims that, in his younger years, he fished in Alaska but wasn’t very good at it.

Terry Lauck of ConocoPhillips. Terry is the Director of Permits, Sciences & Regulatory Advocacy for ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. His group is responsible for securing environmental/regulatory permits associated with exploration and production operations for ConocoPhillips in Alaska, in addition to the associated wildlife, ecosystem, and cultural studies. Terry has been employed by ConocoPhillips for nearly 27 years, having worked in Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, California, and Oklahoma (twice), before transferring to Alaska in August 2014.

Dan Graham of PacRim Coal, LP. Dan has been the Project Manager of the Chuitna Coal Project since 2009. Dan moved to Alaska in 1983 to study Mining Engineering at UAF and play hockey – he has worked in Alaska’s mining industry ever since. His work experience includes: equipment operator at a placer gold mine, mine engineer for Usibelli Coal Mine, owner of an engineering consulting business, senior consultant at Golder Associates, and the Director of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Public Works Department. Dan is a board member of the Alaska Miners Association and the Resource Development Council.

Recently appointed by the University of Alaska to a term ending in October 2015 is:

Daniel M. White of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dan is the Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and also heads the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization. A registered professional engineer, Dan has been Director of the Institute of Northern Engineering since July 2006. He has conducted research on drinking water protection, development and treatment, and has spent considerable time in rural villages and remote locations in Alaska pursuing issues related to freshwater in the Arctic.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

 

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Alaska SeaLife Center Mourns Loss of Steller Sea Lion
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (March 5, 2015) - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is saddened to announce the loss of Sugar, a 21-year-old female Steller sea lion.

Despite efforts of ASLC Animal Care and Veterinary staff, Sugar was humanely euthanized after complications with bone degeneration on March 4.

As a result of Sugar’s mature age, veterinarians had been closely monitoring her health. Sugar had not been previously showing any signs of discomfort or pain when significant bone loss/damage was revealed by routine radiograph screening for age related bone changes such as arthritis. 

The disease advanced quickly. Animal Care and Veterinary staff made all attempts to make Sugar as comfortable as possible, thereby ensuring quality of life to the end.

Sugar was born in May 1993. She and ASLC’s oldest male sea lion, Woody, came to Seward from the Vancouver Aquarium when they were both five years old. Known for her animated personality, Sugar was a favorite among staff and visitors.

ASLC President and CEO Dr. Tara Riemer said, “Sugar has been a part of the Alaska SeaLife Center family since even before we opened in 1998.  Having worked at the Center since 2003, I can't imagine not having such a well-trained and beautiful animal in our midst. She will be sorely missed."

“Her real name was Sugarloaf but Sugar fit her so well. She contributed so much to our knowledge of the health and physiology of her species and captured our hearts in the process,” Dr. Pam Tuomi, Senior Veterinarian said.

A necropsy will be performed at ASLC in hopes of learning more about this disease. ASLC’s Steller sea lion program significantly contributes to the understanding of these animals - their reproduction, habitats and sustainability.

About Steller Sea Lions

Steller sea lions are the largest member of the eared seal family. The species ranges across the northern Pacific Ocean, from Japan through the Aleutian Islands and southeast Alaska to northern California. Divided into eastern and western regions, the western population is currently listed as endangered.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

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Rescued Sea Otter Pup Moves to New Home at Seattle Aquarium
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (February 2, 2015) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is pleased to announce that Mishka, a rescued sea otter, was safely transferred to her new home at the Seattle Aquarium.

Mishka was transported by a FedEx plane to the Seattle Aquarium and made her public debut on Super Bowl Sunday. ASLC staff members travelled with Mishka in order to make her transition as stress free as possible. 

Over the next few weeks, Seattle Aquarium staff will systemically acclimate Mishka to her new environment before introducing her to another resident sea otter.

Mishka, Russian for “little bear,” was rescued by the ASLC’s Wildlife Response Program on July 12, 2014. She was found as a newborn in Port Moller, Alaska after being entangled in a fishing net. Due to the maternal care required by young otters, they are deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Mishka, now a healthy 26-pound, 6-month old female, received round-the-clock care during her stay at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Since July, Mishka has more than doubled her weight and transitioned from bottle-fed formula to eating a diverse diet, including capelin, surf clams, crab, mussels, and squid. After a final health check, ASLC veterinary staff cleared Mishka to be transferred to her new home in Seattle.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as sea otters and harbor seals. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to sea otters with the authorization of USFWS. Once a sea otter is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.

Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Dr. Tara Riemer explained, “We have no federal or state funding to care for sea otters, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and BP Alaska for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue and oil spill response readiness.”

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

About the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is one Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological, and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way. To learn more, visit www.seattleaquarium.org.

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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (January 29, 2015) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is proud to announce the 2015 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that 

have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources. The Alaska SeaLife Center appreciates the support provided by the award sponsors and thanks the Awards Committee members: Jason Brune, Dale Hoffman, Dr. Mike Castellini, Dr. Ian Dutton, Lisa Busch, Molly McCammon, Denby Lloyd, and Carlyn Nichols for assistance in selecting the awardees. 

Two of the awards were presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium the week of January 19, 2015 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska. The remaining awards will be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala on February 21, 2015 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org

Following are the 2015 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award winners:

Al Burch will receive the prestigious Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. The late Governor Walter J. Hickel and his wife Ermalee endowed this award for 10 years to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources over a period of 20 years or more. Starting as a shrimp dragger in Seward, Al Burch has fished Alaskan waters for more than 55 years and serves on numerous national and international fishing boards. Since 2002, Al has represented the Kodiak Island Borough on the board of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. Al accepted the council position because he believes it is important that active fishermen have representation. He strives for an equal balance between various interest groups to ensure Alaskan waters are protected but not overly regulated. Al is a founding member of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and served 30 years on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panel. He recently retired as the Executive Director of the Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association, a non-profit group representing approximately 40 bottom-fish vessels out of Kodiak. He was inducted into the United Fishermen of Alaska’s Seafood Hall of Fame in 2009 for his dedication to Alaska’s fisheries and ocean resources. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

 

The Alyeska Vessel of Opportunity Program will receive the Stewardship& Sustainability Award. This award is sponsored by Jason Brune, and honors an industry leader that demonstrates the highest commitment to sustainability of ocean resources. Alyeska Pipeline Service Company employs its Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) annually to train and educate crew members of some 450 vessels in Prince William Sound to support spill response in the region. Participants from Valdez, Cordova, Whittier, Homer, Kodiak, and Seward learn necessary skills to join Alyeska in spill response, containment, and recovery. The training results in an entire fleet of an estimated 1,500 professionals now poised to work with SERVS to protect their communities in the unlikely case of an actual incident. The local knowledge and commitment of the Prince William Sound fishing communities is evident in this program’s ongoing success - ensuring that the fisheries and environment are protected and sustained for years to come. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

 

Alisa Aist will receive the Ocean Youth Award, which is sponsored by Dale Hoffman. The award honors an individual, or team, of Alaskan youth ages 12-19 who have displayed a dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans. Alisa is a student at Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage. Her dream to become a marine biologist was born in seventh grade during a school field trip to the tide pools in Homer. Since that trip, Alisa has taken every opportunity to expand her scientific knowledge. Alisa has taken extra science classes at school, attended two summer science camps run through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and created four research projects for the Alaska Science and Engineering Fair, presenting two of these projects at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Alisa has worked alongside her community to do research and has continued to present her work at school, local organizations, and symposiums. Award to be presented at the Alaska Marine Gala.

 

Benjamin Carney received the Marine Science Outreach Award. This award is given to a person, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ocean literacy via formal or informal education, media or other communications. It is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Armed with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and M.S. in Fisheries, Ben currently teaches chemistry, physical science, and oceanography at Juneau-Douglas High School.  His passion centers on the National Ocean Sciences Bowl and coaching his students to victory. Ben has coached a team from Juneau-Douglas High School to first place at the state level since 2007, the longest winning streak in the history of the Alaska Tsunami Bowl. Last year’s winning team, Team Pogonophoraphobia, placed third at the National Finals. Award was presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

 

Jacqueline Grebmeier and Lee Cooper received the Marine Research Award, sponsored by Drs. Clarence Pautzke and Maureen McCrea. This honor is given to a scientist, team of 
scientists, or an institution that is acknowledged by peers to have made an original breakthrough contribution to any field of scientific knowledge about Alaska’s oceans. Jacqueline and Lee have shown major leadership in Pacific Arctic marine research over the past several decades. Both conducted their Ph.D. work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and are now Research 
Professors at the University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science. Spending most of their summers at sea in Alaska’s arctic, both have participated in dozens of research cruises, many as chief scientists. Through involvement in high level national committees, strong management skills, and deep knowledge of the Pacific Arctic, they have provided important leadership in large research 

programs, such as BEST-BSIERP, the Pacific Arctic Marine Regional Synthesis, and the Distributed Biological Observatory. Award was presented at the 
Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

 

 

About the ASLC

 

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

 

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The Alaska SeaLife Center announces the Summer of Sharks!
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (January 15, 2015) - Science meets art as the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) brings the Buzz Saw Sharks of Long Ago exhibit to Seward, Alaska. The exhibit is on loan from the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) and is done in collaboration with Ray Troll. Areas around the aquarium will be transformed into the Paleozoic marine world of the humongous, whorl-toothed shark.

 

“Summer of Sharks” at the Alaska SeaLife Center opens April 17 with fossils, sculptures, and artwork featuring the majestic Helicoprion. This prehistoric giant is the world’s only animal – past or present – with a complete 360-degree spiral of teeth. Imagine a fearsome behemoth equipped with a circular blade of teeth and strong jaws that researchers believe crimped and cut its prey.  

The Buzzsaw Shark roamed the Permian Seas more than 270 million years ago. Now, it has come back to life thanks to the informed imagination of Alaskan artist Ray Troll and Idaho State University researchers. 

Obsessing over this prehistoric marine species for more than 20 years, Troll is now the go-to guy for all things Helicoprion. Detailed artwork from Troll include a 17.5-foot-long by 8-foot-high mural of sharks, as well as 21 individual pieces. His colorful artwork combined with informational graphics explore a side of scientific history you have never seen before.  

Sculptures by artist Gary Staab welcome visitors as they travel back in time. A hanging 15-foot shark sculpture and a giant shark head bursting through the wall watch over visitors as they are immersed in Troll’s ode to this extinct creature.

The exhibit, which was previously at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, also includes four fossils of the shark’s unusual and complex whorl dentition dug from Idaho phosphate mines. Three casts of rare fossils and an interactive shark jaw showcase the power of the animal kingdom’s most unusual set of teeth.

 “I’m really excited to have the ‘Buzz Saw Sharks of Long Ago’ be a big part of the Alaska SeaLife Center's ‘Summer of Sharks.’ I think visitors to this special exhibit will find the fossils, life-sized models and colorful artwork to be pretty amazing. I can guarantee that folks have never seen sharks like these ancient wonders before. It's going to be wonderful to get to share them with my fellow Alaskans,” Ray Troll said recently when asked about the exhibit.

Children and adults alike will enjoy a humorous documentary film about the artist as they sit on a whorl-patterned “art couch,” activate the whorl tooth mechanism, “walk the whorl,” and ponder the incredible bite of a “large-as-life” Helicoprion head. 

“This is the Alaska SeaLife Center’s first traveling exhibit, and we are thrilled to have such scientifically significant artifacts and the fantastic artwork of Ray Troll here at the Center. This is a milestone for ASLC and a major event for Alaska,” President and CEO Dr. Tara Riemer said.

Buzzsaw Sharks of Long Ago explores the many ways that people have come to better understand the natural world through mysterious fossils and the quest for creatures of the deep. Troll hopes Buzzsaw Sharks will not only intrigue visitors, but also inspire them to take action and help protect all species of shark and marine life.

Summer of Sharks is open April 17 through Labor Day and made possible by our presenting sponsor BP.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

About the IMNH

The Idaho Museum of Natural History is home to permanent and special collections in Anthropology, Earth Sciences, and Life Sciences, a place where researchers pursue scholarly study of the collections and publish their findings in peer-reviewed and museum-sponsored publications.

 

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Rare Opportunity to View Bearded Seal at the Alaska SeaLife Center
March 17, 2015

Seward, Alaska (December 11, 2014) - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is excited to announce it is currently home to a male bearded seal. 

Siku, named after the Inuit word for “sea ice,” is the first of his kind to reside at the Alaska SeaLife Center – in fact the first bearded seal to reside in a North American facility.

Visitors to the Center can observe Siku during daylight hours from the viewing windows next to the Discovery Touch Pool now until the end of January 2015. Siku will then be transferred to the University of California, Santa Cruz, Long Marine Laboratory to participate in a long-term study on the hearing sensitivity of arctic seals.                                    

Researchers at Long Marine Lab are examining the cognitive and sensory systems of marine mammals above and below the water’s surface. Siku will join a project studying the hearing perception of three arctic seal species: spotted, ringed, and bearded seals. 


Photo courtesy of Taylor Paul

Little data exists about the auditory systems of these three species. In particular, there is currently no information on the hearing capabilities of bearded seals. The psychoacoustic study of these species will provide researchers basic information about their auditory system and how common industry noise from oil and gas exploration may affect their hearing. 

“We are working cooperatively with spotted, ringed, and bearded seals to learn more about how these unique animals perceive the world around them,” UC Santa Cruz Associate Research Scientist Dr. Colleen Reichmuth said. “This project will teach us about the sensory biology of ice-living seals, and will inform best management practices for these species in areas increasingly influenced by human activity.”Approval for the project was granted by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Ice Seal Commission, which work together to co-manage Alaskan ice seal populations.

Photo courtesy of Taylor Paul

“We are honored to partner with UC Santa Cruz in this important research project, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this particular species,” Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Dr. Tara Riemer said. “No facility in North America has ever been home to a bearded seal, and we are excited that Alaskans have this opportunity to see such a special animal.”

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

About the UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab

Long Marine Laboratory is world renowned for innovative research in marine mammal physiology and ecology, marine invertebrate ecology, and marine toxicology. Researchers and staff at the lab have developed specially designed tanks and equipment that are used for studying marine mammal diving physiology, bioacoustics, and cognition. Long Marine Lab and other facilities are located at the UC Santa Cruz Coastal Science Campus on a seaside bluff a short distance from the main campus. For more information about UC Santa Cruz, visit www.ucsc.edu.

 

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Give Thanks for Species Rescued From the Brink of Extinction
March 17, 2015

Accredited zoos and aquariums are saving more than 30 endangered species and the Alaska SeaLife Center Plays a Leading Role.

Seward, Alaska (November 17, 2014) – As American families prepare for the annual ritual of giving thanks, they can add to their list of things to be thankful for a rare victory in the battle against global climate change – more than 30 endangered species brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to America’s accredited zoos and aquariums. 

With climate change, population growth and deforestation, and poaching threatening species around the world, we are facing what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction.” 

But the 229 accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have built a unique infrastructure to save endangered species – breeding programs that coordinate across many institutions to ensure genetic diversity, systems so that animals can be safely moved between institutions, and partnerships with local, national, and international conservation organizations working on re-introducing these animals to their native ranges. 

Because of that infrastructure, there is good news in the face of the extinction crisis:  from the Florida manatee to the California condor, the Hawaiian crow to the Puerto Rican crested toad, the Chinese alligator to the American bison, zoos and aquariums have saved more than 30 species, and are working today on dozens more.

Over the next several months, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will be celebrating these successes, and inviting the public to support efforts to save even more species.  In November, in honor of Thanksgiving, AZA is spotlighting endangered birds, including:

·         All four species of eider sea ducks saw a decline in population from the 1970s to the 1990s, and two of the species are currently listed as threatened in the U.S.: thespectacled eider and the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eider.  For over thirteen years, the Eider Research Program at the Alaska SeaLife Center has conducted field, laboratory, and captive studies on Steller’s and spectacled eiders in Alaska.  Currently, the Alaska SeaLife Center houses captive breeding flocks of both spectacled and Steller’s eiders, making the organization the only facility in the world to house these species for research and conservation purposes.  The Steller’s eiders at the Alaska SeaLife Center serve as a unique reservoir flock of the threatened Steller’s eiders in Alaska, and the Center works in close partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop methods to recover the threatened eiders in Alaska.

·         Bali mynah have striking white plumage with black wing tips and bright blue coloration around the eyes. The species can approach 10 inches in height.  Bali mynahs are nearly extinct in the wild because poachers collect them for the illegal pet trade, where they are valued for their striking plumage and beautiful songs. Because of this poaching, Bali mynahs are found almost exclusively in zoos.   But much has been done to help the Bali mynah's wild population recover, including protection of their native breeding grounds.  In 1987, 40 Bali mynahs from US zoos were sent to the Surbaja Zoo in Indonesia to form a breeding group, with resulting offspring released into the wild. In 2009, Bali mynahs raised in managed care were introduced to a neighboring island, Nusa Penida, and seem to be doing well so far.

·         The largest bird in North America, the California condor once dominated the western skies, able to soar to 15,000 feet and travel up to 150 miles a day in pursuit of food.  With its keen vision, the condor hunts for carcasses of dead animals, and then swoops in to feast, serving as nature’s clean-up crew.  But destruction of habitat and poaching decimated the species, and by 1982, only 22 birds remained in the wild.  The San Diego Zoo Global, the Los Angeles Zoo and 16 other AZA institutions took the lead at captive propagation, working with a network of government and non-profit partners.  Beginning in the early 1990s, zoo-bred condors began being reintroduced into the wild.  From a low of 22, there are now more than 435 condors in the world, with almost 250 free-flying in the West.

·         Prior to the 1960s, there were probably around 10,000 Guam rails living on Guam, a South Pacific island. Sometime between 1944 and 1952, brown tree snakes arrived on Guam, most likely on cargo ships. The snakes’ population rapidly increased, because there was plentiful prey (such as the Guam rails) and no natural predators. The tree snakes wiped out the native animal populations, and by the 1970s, 9 of the 11 native bird species, including the Guam rail, had disappeared.  Trying to save the species, the last few birds were removed from the island in the 1980s. In 1989, reintroduction of these birds began on the island of Rota, near Guam, as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for the species.

·         The palila Hawaiian songbird is one of the endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper species and efforts to expand the palila population back to its historic range at Pu`u Mali have included experimental releases of captive-bred birds, as well as relocation of wild birds to protected areas. The palila was the first animal to have a federal circuit court case named after it, in a precedent setting case that increased protection for endangered species.  While several zoos are working to preserve the palila, they are not currently on exhibit to the public.

·         Known in Hawaii as Alala, the Hawaiian crow is the most endangered corvid in the world and is the only crow species found in Hawaii. The birds are extinct in the wild, and the remaining population is managed at zoos, where the chicks are fed and cared for by animal care staff they never see to ensure they do not imprint on humans.  The last `alalā were recorded in their natural habitat in 2002. Planning is underway to restore the `alalā to the Big Island of Hawaii beginning this year. 

·         The Waldrapp ibis, also known as the hermit ibis or the northern bald ibis, may not be viewed by some as the most attractive bird, but their strong character and bizarre appearance give them unique appeal. They look almost comical with their bald heads, long red beaks and crazy crest feathers going every which way. Their black feathers take on brilliant sheens of purple, green and orange when viewed in bright sunlight. With only about 420 wild Waldrapp ibis remaining, this is one of the world's most critically endangered avian species.  But thanks to a very successful breeding and release program, there are over 1,100 Waldrapp ibis in captivity, and offspring from zoos are being released back to the wild. 

For a list of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums where you can see some of these incredible birds in person, please visit the AZA website: http://www.aza.org/SpeciesBeingSaved.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and six other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.

About the ASLC

Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education departments. It 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, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

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Alaska SeaLife Center to Release Harbor Seal Pup in Seward: A Public Event
March 17, 2015

Seward, AK – September 16, 2014– The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is proud to announce the release of a female Pacific harbor seal pup on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.  We cordially invite the public and media to observe this exciting and memorable event.

What: Harbor Seal Release

When: Friday, September 19, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.

Where: Public Access Boat Launch at Lowell Point Beach in Seward, AK 

If Lowell Point road is not accessible, please monitor our Facebook page for alternate location.

ASLC’s Wildlife Response Team rescued the pup, named “Gobi,” on July 3 after it was observed on the beach in front of Resurrection Bay Seafoods on Lowell Point Road in Seward.  Staff observed the area for 24 hours to determine if the mother would return.  At the time, the seal pup was a newborn and would not have survived on its own without Response Team aid.  After authorization for the rescue from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Gobi was brought into the Center where she received immediate veterinary care and treatment for wounds on her head and chin. 

Throughout the summer, Gobi learned to swim, hunt for fish, and socialize with other seals. After a final veterinary exam, the female pup met weight criteria and staff determined she was ready for release.

As President & CEO, Dr. Tara Riemer explains, “Our staff are feeling exceptionally rewarded to have rescued and rehabilitated a marine mammal found down the road from our facility, and to have our community be able to witness the release is very special.”

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to wildlife such as seals, walrus, and sea otters. The Center’s Wildlife Response Program responds to harbor seals with the authorization of NOAA. Once a seal is admitted to the Center, it is closely monitored by the veterinary and animal care staff at ASLC.

Dr. Riemer describes the program funding, “We have no federal or state funding to care for marine mammals, and we rely on donations to keep this program going. We especially thank Shell Exploration and Production, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and BP Alaska for their generous contributions to the Center in support of wildlife rescue and oil spill response readiness.”

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction, which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  The Alaska SeaLife Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds,and encourages people whohave found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal.  Call first!  1-888-774-SEAL

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