SeaLife Center admits abandoned harbor seal pups

Both seals were found abandoned and malnourished, and both were born prematurely

Since late April, the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program has admitted two harbor seals abandoned on the Kenai Peninsula, the center announced last week.

Both seals were found abandoned and malnourished, and both were born prematurely, the center said in a press release.

The first was admitted in Nikiski on April 24 but died within 48 hours. Necropsy revealed that the pup “was likely born weeks prematurely” and was unable to survive.

The second pup was admitted from Kenai on May 9 and is “in serious condition.” The center’s Wildlife Response Hotline was called by people working at a fish processing facility who said that a small, white-furred pup had been seen without an adult for several hours.

Any harbor seal with a white coat, according to the release, was born prematurely, as they shed the white “lanugo coat” before birth. The release notes that some other seal species in Alaska do have white coats for some time after birth.

The pup has been found to be malnourished, has low body temperature, and has exhibited “abnormal bloodwork.”

“The team is currently providing initial stabilizing treatments and examining the patient further to understand the severity of the animal’s condition,” the release reads. “Premature harbor seal pups have only about a 50% chance of survival when admitted to a wildlife response program, and the team is doing everything possible to give her a fighting chance.”

Updates on the pup’s progress will be published on the center’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

To report an injured or stranded marine animal in Alaska, call the 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline at 1-888-744-7325.

For more information about the Alaska SeaLife Center and for continuing updates about the wildlife response patients, find “Alaska SeaLife Center” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at