Male ringed seal rescued from Dutch Harbor

A yearling male ringed seal found lying on a rusty pipe on the rocky shore of Dutch Harbor is now recuperating at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, where veterinarian Kathy Woodie says that despite a laundry list of health issues, “his feisty demeanor shows promise.”

Bystanders spotted the ringed seal on the shore in early March and alerted Alaska Sea Grant agent Melissa Good, who arranged with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and ASLC for the transport of the seal to Anchorage on a PenAir flight and on to the SeaLife Center.

The underweight yearling’s coat was balding and his demeanor lethargic. Upon arrival at ASLC, the seal was treated first for severe dehydration and malnourishment. ASLC staff veterinarians also found the seal to have lung worm, parasites, liver issues, a high white blood cell count and an irregular molt.

He is under 24-hour care and staff said they are remaining cautiously optimistic.

With recovery the seal is non-releasable due to National Marine Fishery service policy established for the four species of Alaskan ice seals.   Ribbon, bearded, spotted and ringed seals are considered non-releasable in the state due to consideration of subsistence hunters.

Since 1998l ASLC has operated as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, and is now celebrating 20 years of stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  The ASLC is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.