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Steller Sea Lion Mother and Pup Lost

Seward, AK - June 19, 2010 -The Alaska SeaLife Center reported today the loss of one of their resident Steller sea lions.  Kiska and her unborn pup were lost in the late term of pregnancy.   

Kiska's pregnancy was confirmed late last fall, and since that time her health has been monitored by ASLC Veterinarians and husbandry staff.  Beginning May 15th, ASLC staff began monitoring Kiska 24/7 as part of our long-planned pregnancy management protocols. 

On-site observers noticed an increased level of activity by Kiska last night.  Due to that increased level of activity, a possible precursor to labor, Brett Long, Director of Husbandry, made a personal visit to check on Kiska.  When he arrived at Kiska's enclosure, he discovered she was non-responsive. 

Alaska SeaLife Center Veterinarian, Dr. Carrie Goertz, was immediately called and was onsite in under 10 minutes.  Kiska was confirmed dead; an emergency C-section was immediately performed in an effort to save the unborn pup.  Unfortunately the pup had already passed.

"Kiska's loss lays heavy on our minds and in our hearts.  She will be greatly missed by all of our staff and visitors who have grown to know and love her." said Dr. Ian Dutton, Alaska SeaLife Center President & CEO.

Kiska's health had been monitored closely throughout her pregnancy by ASLC husbandry and veterinarian staff, and the pup had been developing normally until this point.  Staff frequently observed fetal activity, and ultrasound images showed steady growth and a strong heart rate.  An independent pathologist will be arriving on Sunday to perform a necropsy to help ASLC staff to determine a cause of death.  

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