Alaska SeaLife Center Welcomes Sea Otter to I.Sea.U
March 17, 2015

Seward, AK – September 11, 2014– The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) transferred a female sea otter pup to its I.Sea.U this week.  Visitors to the Center can watch the activities of the otter and its care-givers through viewing windows near the Discovery Touch Pool.

The pup, now a healthy 10-pound, 2-month old female, was found stranded as a newborn in Port Moller, Alaska after being entangled in a fishing net.  The otter was brought to the Alaska SeaLife Center on July 12 where she immediately began receiving intensive, hands-on care. Sea otter pups must be fed every two hours and constantly groomed to keep their fur clean.  Due to the maternal care required by young otters, pups this age are deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

Sea otters eat approximately 25-30% of their weight in food daily. The pup’s current diet consists mainly of sea otter formula and a small amount of solid food, such as clams, squid, and capelin.  As she grows older, solids are being slowly increased to incorporate a larger variety including shrimp and crab.

Halley Werner, Stranding Supervisor at the Center states, “The transition into I.Sea.U is the next step for this young otter to become more independent. This will allow her to care for herself, with continued around-the-clock support from our animal care team.” 

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 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.”

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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There's a Pup on the Way!
March 16, 2015

We have a special announcement: Atty's pregnant!
The Alaska SeaLife Center's 10-year-old harbor seal Atuun, "Atty," is expecting her third pup! In this ultrasound video, you can see the fetus moving around, with the spine and heart coming in and out of view. The sex of the pup remains undetermined. Veterinary staff expect the new harbor seal to arrive in June of this year. Click here for a link to the ultrasound video.

Atty is the mother of Kordelia (born June 8, 2011) and Kobuk (born June 27, 2012). 

 

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The Alaska SeaLife Center is currently caring for a blind harbor seal
March 13, 2015

The Alaska SeaLife Center is currently caring for a blind harbor seal. Bryce was the last harbor seal pup rescue of 2014 after being found at Land's End in Homer, AK. Because of his blindness, Bryce has been deemed non-releasable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Marine Fisheries Service. Veterinary staff believe he suffered head trauma that was the likely cause of his vision loss. While harbor seals are normally quite shy and skittish, staff have been pleasantly surprised by Bryce's spirit of adventure as he quickly explores pools, enrichment items, and other changes to his environment. Staff utilize Bryce's inquisitive nature and heightened reliance on sound when teaching him husbandry behaviors, such as hand-feeding and targeting. Since he cannot see, staff rattle a "shaker" in place of a target buoy. This allows Bryce to use audio cues rather than the customary visual cue. These behaviors help Bryce in adjusting to environmental changes and make veterinary exams easier.

Veterinary staff have noticed a slight improvement in his sight, however, only in one eye. His progress under human care is very encouraging, but we think Bryce's biggest accomplishment is the impressive ability to use his other senses and thrive in his environment. Bryce will stay at the Alaska SeaLife Center until a permanent home is determined.

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Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Birth of Male Steller Sea Lion Pup
March 6, 2015

Seward, AK – July 28, 2014– The Alaska SeaLife Center is pleased to announce the birth of a male Steller sea lion pup at 12:14 pm on July 20, 2014. Fourteen-year-old mother, Eden, and the pup are healthy and doing well. The pup’s father is 21-year-old Woody, the Center’s iconic male Steller sea lion.

Eden is a very attentive mother and the pup has been successfully nursing. The pup’s first weight came in at 37.7 pounds (17.1 kg). The pup is not expected to be available for public viewing for a few months. 

Eden and Woody are no strangers to the pup-parent spotlight.  They became parents last summer when Eden gave birth to a female pup on June 20, 2013. Eleanor (“Ellie”) marked the first Steller sea lion pup born in North American collections since the mid 1980s. At thirteen months old, Ellie now weighs 166 pounds (75.5 kg) and has learned to eat fish and follow basic commands from her trainers. 

Eden and her two pups are part of a study focused on maternal care by female Steller sea lions, as part of the Center’s research to better understand this endangered population. “The Steller sea lions at the Center play an important role in our understanding of wild sea lions. We are learning about hormone cycles, pregnancy detection, and pup care,” said Dr. Lori Polasek, ASLC Marine Mammal Scientist and University of Alaska Fairbanks Research Assistant Professor.  “This study has application for population recovery by determining pregnancy rates and pupping success in wild animals.”

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.

Research described is conducted under National Marine Fisheries Service Permit No. 18534.  Permit language may not be cropped from photos. 

 

 

 

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