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Alaska SeaLife Center Set To Release Three Rehabilitated Harbor Seal Pups

Seward, AK - September 9, 2010 - The Alaska SeaLife Center reported today that three rehabilitated harbor seal pups will be released into the wild this week.

Jitters, a harbor seal pup is scheduled to be released from Captain Cook Recreational Area in Nikiski today, Thursday, September 9th, at approximately 4:00 P.M.  Jitters was observed and rescued by employees at the Port of Anchorage and picked up by ASLC staff on May 21st.  During his stay at the Alaska SeaLife Center he gained over 45 pounds.  Upon his admittance, he weighed approximately eighteen pounds (8.1 kg) and is now in stable condition at approximately sixty-three pounds (28.9 kg).  He will have a satellite tag attached so that researchers can monitor his progress for the following three to eight months. 

Additionally, Chai, another harbor seal will be released in Homer from Bishop Beach on Friday, September 10th, at approximately 5:30 P.M.  Chai was observed, rescued and picked up by ASLC staff on May 3rd after being found orphaned near the Inlet Fish Processor on the Kenai Peninsula.  During his stay at the Alaska SeaLife Center he has gained over forty-eight pounds.  Upon his admittance, he weighed approximately seventeen pounds (7.5 kg) and is now in stable condition at approximately sixty-five pounds (28.9 kg).

Finally, Arabica (a.k.a. Abby), another harbor seal pup will be released at the same time with Chai.  Arabica was observed and rescued and picked up by members of the Volunteer Homer Stranding Network and transported to ASLC on May 10th after being found near Halibut Cove.  During her stay at the Alaska SeaLife Center she has gained the most at over fifty pounds.  Upon her admittance, she weighed approximately fifteen pounds (6.9 kg) and is now in stable condition at approximately sixty-seven pounds (30.7 kg).

After their final health checks, they have been cleared by Alaska SeaLife Center Veterinary Staff and NOAA to leave the rehabilitation facility at ASLC and be released back to the wild.

"These animals were fortunate that concerned citizens called when they were first seen.  The staff here at ASLC have put a tremendous amount of time and effort in order to return these critters back as wild and healthy animals.  Without their efforts and the fight in the animals to survive, we wouldn't be able to enjoy such an event.  Although we work hard not to have the animals form connections to humans, we as caregivers will always have that bond with them.  When they leave their kennel and never look back, it completes our job and we can be rewarded knowing that they are now strong enough to survive in the wild."  Said Tim Lebling, Alaska SeaLife Center Stranding Coordinator.

The Alaska SeaLife Center's Stranding and Rehabilitation program admits harbor seals with the authorization of NOAA.  Once a harbor seal is admitted, it receives round-the-clock care by the veterinarian and animal care staff at ASLC.

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 Jitters, Chai, Arabica, or the rest of the stranding department or any other part of the Alaska SeaLife Center please reference the Alaska SeaLife Center website at www.alaskasealife.org

To report a seal stranding in Alaska call 1-888-774-SEAL.

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