A Pacific harbor seal pup was released back into the wild on Wednesday after getting bigger and fatter over the last three months. Seal 05, also called Tsaa yadi, tentatively made his way to the water at the Auke Recreation Area, coaxed by marine mammal specialists and cheered on by spectators and school kids.
The pup was only a few days old when he hauled out near the Auke Bay boat ramp in May. When the mother did not return, the seal was sent to the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward because he would not have been able to survive on his own.
Halley Werner, rehabilitation supervisor at the Center, said it was a pretty straightforward rehabilitation effort. The seal did not suffer from any injuries. He was only skinny and dehydrated. But Werner said they had to teach the seal how to feed on fish.
In early August, Seal 05 weighed 26.25 kilograms or nearly 58 pounds. That was well over the weight goal of 25 kilograms for the seal’s potential release.
Warner said they decided release the seal at Auke Recreation Area because of the adequate food supply and nearby population of harbor seals.