One of three harbor seal pups from the Copper River area being treated for malnourishment and dehydration at the Alaska Sealife Center is held by a staff member as the pups are evaluated. Photo courtesy of ASLC

Three harbor seal pups spotted alone at different locations along the Copper River by fishing boat crews are being treated at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward for malnutrition and dehydration.

SeaLife Center officials said all three still had umbilical cords attached, signaling that they were less than a week old.

A fourth newborn harbor seal pup found on a crowded fishing beach in Nikiski was also admitted during the same period, again with no adult seals in the area. This fourth seal was estimated to be less than two days old and found to be dehydrated as well.

A harbor seal pup from the Copper River area being treated at the Alaska SeaLife Center awaits a checkup by staff. Photo courtesy of ASLC

The first three pups were reported to the ASLC’s 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline by separate callers. Alaska State tropers aided in transporting the pups from the fishing boats to the Cordova Airport to be flown to Anchorage. From there NOAA staff brought the pups over roads to Seward.

The fourth seal was transported to ASLC as well with NOAA’s approval, after an alert was received. Updates on the status of all four seals will be posted on ASLC’s social media pages.

The nonprofit ASLC relies on corporate and individual donations to provide these and similar services.


Before approaching an injured or stranded marine animal in Alaska, call the 24-hour stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-774-SEAL (7325).