Rescue & Rehab Journal

In rough shape

June, 18th 2015

This spotted seal pup was found on the beach in Nome. It was observed for a few days prior to being reported to ASLC.  After seeing pictures and hearing the description of the animal's condition, it was apparent this animal needed immediate care if he were to survive. Authorization was given for the pup to be transported to ASLC for rehabilitation. 

Not looking good

June, 19th 2015

Once the pup arrived to the center, it received a thorough veterinary examination. The pup is a male who is estimated to be a couple of weeks old.  He is extremely lethargic, malnourished and dehydrated - he is in poor condition. Our first steps are to rehydrate him and begin to provide him with the nutrients he is desperately lacking.

Extra support

June, 20th 2015

Throughout the day the young spotted seal has struggled with maintaining his temperature and has become more lethargic.  Staff veterinarians placed an IV catheter in an effort to save his life. He will need to be monitored 24 hours a day due to his declining condition.

Small improvements

June, 23rd 2015

The pup is starting to show small signs of improvement. He is lifting his head some and overall is more alert.  He is still being supported by IV fluids. Staff are slowly transitioning him from a diet of fluids and essential minerals onto a fish formula during feeds five times a day to provide calories and nutrients.  He is fighting hard and we can only hope that he will continue to improve.

Trouble maker

June, 27th 2015

Against all odds, the little spotted seal is continuing to gain strength. His new favorite thing to do is to tangle himself up in his IV line. Due to his recent improvement and heightened activity, ASLC veterinarians are considering the removal of the IV line in the near future.

IV free!

June, 29th 2015

After an intensive ten days of having an IV catheter in place, this pup's health has greatly improved and it is time to remove the catheter.  While he still has a long way to go, his blood levels and his strength have improved dramatically.  While he is now very well hydrated he is still underweight so we will continue to provide him with nutrients needed. He has passed parasites in his feces so when he is stronger he will receive a deworming medication.

A big day!

June, 30th 2015

Since the pup is stronger and no longer has his IV catheter in, staff are now able to swim him without risking infection. Due to his lack of blubber, his water must be warmed so he doesn't become hypothermic. Since he is the age of a seal that should already be weaned, staff introduced live fish to see what he'd do. He immediately lunged at it and consumed it! Staff will now able to provide hydrated fish to pack on his nutrients rather than having to handle him often for daily tube feedings.


July, 10th 2015

The spotted seal is active and has been enjoying his swims outside. Staff are decreasing the water temperatures as he is able to better thermoregulate himself.  Due to the NOAA-Ice Seal Committee co-management agreement, spotted seals are not releasable once admitted to a rehabilitation facility. Because of this, staff have started to train him simple behaviors. These behaviors are enriching and are beneficial for his future husbandry and care. 

Gaining strength

July, 19th 2015

This pup is growing up fast! Staff have now gotten him to full cold salt water swims so he had his first swim in his outdoor condo pool today and he went in immediately. He swam great and could haul out of the pool on his own so we will start to extend his deeper pool time. He has already been spending his days outside and will spend his first night outside tonight. Staff have provided a heating pad as an option for him to warm up if he chooses to use it.


July, 25th 2015

This seal is doing amazing with his training - he maintains the most wonderful eye contact and is very motivated for training sessions. He is putting on weight well. Vets will be administering a dewormer to rid him of any parasites he may still have. 

A big pool

August, 11th 2015

The spotted seal  has been moved to a deeper pool, and he seems to be enjoying his new space. Staff gave him an ice treat with fish frozen into it as some enrichment. He was very interested in it, nosing it around the pool and would eat the fish as they thawed.

A clean bill of health

August, 28th 2015

It's a big day for this little spotted seal. He has finished his quarantine period and has received a clean bill of health! This means he will move to a new location at ASLC, where the mammalogists will continue his training and he can socialize with other resident animals. He has also been given a name - Kunik. Staff are so happy to see the progress of this spotted seal from his initial critical condition to a healthy and curious seal. Great job Kunik, have fun!


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