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Alaska SeaLife Center Welcomes First 2012 Stranded Harbor Seal


PHOTO: Alaska SeaLife Center

Olympia from Haines, Alaska SeaLife Center's first stranded harbor seal of the season.


Seward, AK – May 16, 2012 –The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) has welcomed its first stranded harbor seal this year. Olympia, a very young female harbor seal pup, was rescued in Haines May 2nd by the Haines Animal Rescue Center.

Rescuers picked Olympia up after searching the area for other seals and receiving authorization from NOAA and the ASLC for the rescue. Air Excursions in Haines donated the flight to Juneau where veterinarian Rachael Berngartt, D.V.M. stabilized Olympia prior to further transport by Alaska Airlines to Anchorage.

When the 2-day old pup was brought to the Center, she weighed 6.0 kilograms (13.2 pounds). Olympia is currently being fed five times a day with a milk matrix created specifically for harbor seals that contains all of the nutrients and calories she needs to grow. Olympia has a white lanugo coat, an indication that she was born prematurely. Tim Lebling, ASLC Stranding Coordinator, stated, “It is likely that Olympia was abandoned by her mother, as we commonly find that seals abandon their premature pups.” Olympia is currently in “good but guarded” condition, and will be cared for until she can be released back into the wild.

ConocoPhillips Alaska has contributed $100,000 towards the stranding program at ASLC this year. In appreciation of their generosity, ConocoPhillips Alaska was given the opportunity to name this harbor seal pup in line with the ASLC’s 2012 naming theme: the Olympics. The name “Olympia” was submitted by Nicholas Alvord, son of ConocoPhillips employee Chip Alvord.

Every year, Alaskan marine mammals such as sea otters, harbor seals, and walrus are stranded and need assistance. The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska and admits harbor seals with the authorization of NOAA. Once a harbor seal is admitted to the ASLC, it receives care from our experienced and dedicated veterinary and animal care staff.

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. For more information regarding our stranding program or the Alaska SeaLife Center, please reference the Alaska SeaLife Center website at 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 who have found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal. Call first!


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