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Rescue & Rehab Journal
PV1602 - Ipuk
May 17, 2016
June, 3rd 2016
On May 17, 2016 citizens reported a lone Pacific harbor seal pup on a beach in Seward, Alaska near a high-traffic area. After observing the pup alone for more than two hours and seeing no sign of the mother in the vicinity, Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlilfe Response Program admitted PV1602 into its care. His umbilical cord was still attached and staff estimated him to be one day old. The pup showed signs of mild dehydration and staff immediately began providing him the appropriate support and monitoring his progress around the clock. While the hope is that marine mammal pups remain with their mothers and enjoy a healthy life in the wild, it is a fact of life that strandings occur for any number of reasons. With the summer season in full swing and more holidaymakers enjoying coastal waters, the Wildlife Response Program anticipates—and is prepared for—an increase in the number of reported strandings, like PV1602. This pup is still under close monitoring and care by program staff and has now begun fish school, where he is learning to catch fish and feed on his own, with the guidance of trained program staff. His decrease in weight from the date of admit is normal as he transitions from a milk-based diet and his digestive system learns to break down fish. Staff are happy with his progress and feel confident he will be continue to progress and eventually be deemed suitable for release back into the wild.
August 6, 2016
August, 26th 2016
PV1602 was named Ipuk (pron. e-pook), the Alutiiq word for Snail, because he took his time learning to catch live fish. Ultimately, Ipuk not only learned to catch and eat live fish, but he graduated from fish school, which is a required step toward eventual release back to the wild. Under the care and guidance of Wildlife Response Program staff, Ipuk continued his progress, including gaining the necessary weight, increasing strength and building stamina. He was determined fit and ready for release after his final assessment on August 5, and on August 6, 2016 he was released back to the wild in Seward, Alaska. Ipuk's release coincided with the 18th Annual Wildlife Rescue Run in Seward, which benefits the Alaska SeaLife Center's Wildlife Response Program. Ipuk's rehabilitation concluding at that time illustrated for race participants, sponsors, and ASLC supporters the importance of the Program to the marine wildlife of Alaska.