A distressed harbor seal pup suffered injuries to its face but was recovered at Auke Bay Wednesday morning. (Courtesy Photo | NOAA Fisheries)

A distressed harbor seal pup suffered injuries to its face but was recovered at Auke Bay Wednesday morning. (Courtesy Photo | NOAA Fisheries)

Harbor seal pup with beak marks on its face rescued at Auke Bay

Animal is being flown to Seward for more treatment

A distressed baby harbor seal brought National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries staff to Auke Bay on Wednesday morning.

It was successfully transferred from the beach behind the University of Alaska Southeast Anderson Lab and flown to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward Wednesday, according to a NOAA press release.

“It looks like it may have been abandoned,” said Julie Speegle, public affairs officer for NOAA Fisheries, in a short phone interview. “It had at least one beak mark on its face, which indicates it had been attacked at least once by a bird prey.”

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Harbor seal pups are weaned when they’re about a month old, but Speegle said the young seal seemed to have problems getting around. She said the ASLC will know more about the age and condition of this specific pup after it is examined.

A response team met with a UAS staff member, who was keeping watch and preventing eagles and pedestrians from disturbing the pup, on the scene. NOAA Fisheries veterinarian Kate Savage successfully transferred the pup from the beach.

Speegle said the people who called in the distressed seal kept a respectful distance. Harbor seals are protected by the federal Marine Mammals Protection Act.

NOAA Fisheries veterinarian Kate Savage responds to a distressed harbor seal pup. (Courtesy Photo | NOAA Fisheries)

NOAA Fisheries veterinarian Kate Savage responds to a distressed harbor seal pup. (Courtesy Photo | NOAA Fisheries)

The seal pup was first reported to NOAA Sunday afternoon, when it was at Lena Beach. NOAA staff conferred with the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward and mutually decided to collect it for rehabilitation if it was still present and in distress Monday morning.

The seal returned to the water Sunday evening, and it was not seen again until Wednesday morning, when NOAA Fisheries received reports from the public that the pup was on the beach behind the University of Alaska Southeast Anderson Lab building in Auke Bay.

Speegle said it’s unknown where the seal went or what it did between Sunday and Wednesday.

Once recovered from the beach, the seal was administered fluids, and sent to the Seward on the afternoon flight. The ASLC will post a profile to their website for this seal, PV1907.

Found a marine mammal?

The Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline is 1-877-925-7773.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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