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Rescue & Rehab Journal
PV1601 - Aqsaq
April 17, 2016
June, 3rd 2016
Picked up at Airport Beach in Homer, Alaska, PV1601 is the youngest Pacific harbor seal to date to have been brought into Alaska Sealife Center’s Wildlife Response Program. It is estimated that he was born a month premature, as he arrived very skinny in size. There is full intention to eventually release him back into the wild, as he is doing well under supportive care and is gaining weight as necessary. In addition to being the youngest, he was also the earliest Pacific harbor seal to arrive in the season at the program. It appears that environmental conditions and weather-related abnormalities are causing marine mammals in Alaska some difficulties, as El Nino winters and much higher temperatures than normal can affect food sources, water conditions, and impact the overall marine ecosystem. Alaska Sealife Center’s Wildlife Response Program staff understands that all environmental factors play a role in the earlier arrivals and is well prepared to receive animals at any time of year. Thanks to the expert care of ASLC’s trained professionals, PV1601 is now thriving. He recently started fish school to learn to catch and eat fish and is now eating herring and live salmon. There is every reason to believe he will continue to thrive and eventually be determined suitable for release back into the wild.
June 28, 2016
August, 26th 2016
PV1601 was given the name Aqsaq (pron. ack-suck), which is the Alutiiq word for Belly. Aqsaq did well in fish school and, as expected, graduated after learning to eat and catch live fish under the watchful care and guidance of Wildlife Response Program staff. He continued to progress in all the areas required for return to the wild, including demonstrating fishing and foraging skills to prove that he could care for himself, and buiding the strength and stamina required to expend the necessary energy for living in the ocean environment. After passing his final health assessment, Aqsaq was returned to Homer, where he was found, and released to the wild on June 28, 2016 by our Wildlife Response Team. Members of the Homer Stranding Network, which is a key collaborator with the Alaska SeaLife Center for area wildlife stranding rescue, and other ASLC supporters gathered to wish Aqsaq well. Fare thee well, Aqsaq!