Alaska SeaLife Center News

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2000

Seal pups in rehab

The harbor seal rehabilitation effort started early, with the arrival of two pups. The first pup came from Alitak Bay on the south end of Kodiak Island. Hunters took the mother and the pup was delivered by Caesarean section. The hunters contacted the local National Marine Fisheries Services in Kodiak, which gave the pup fluids and flew it to Anchorage. The young male seal was assessed at the SeaLife Center and was found to be bright, alert and vocal. He is currently eating, gaining weight and in good but guarded condition.

The second pup was found at the tide mark on Kalifornsky Beach on Cook Inlet following a storm. She was later transported to Seward and is now being treated at the center. She also is in good but guarded condition.

Ophelia lays eggs

Ophelia, the giant Pacific octopus, and her eggs have been moved from the outdoor research deck to a holding tank behind the Denizens of the Deep exhibit. She is tending to her eggs, moving her suckers over them and blowing her siphon across them to ensure adequate oxygenation. The fertility of the eggs has yet to be determined by the center. Ophelia has been in the outdoor tank with Ulu, a male octopus, since last month. If the eggs are fertile, they should hatch in several months.

Ophelia came to the center in 1998 weighing 2 pounds.

A fishy tale

In late March, pink salmon fry were transferred from freshwater trays to saltwater ponds in the center's fish culture wet lab. The fry represent the second successful brood of salmon hatched at the center. The fry will be marked with fin clips to designate their association with the project and released in early May. Fin clipping will take place the first week of May and can be viewed from upstairs at the center by the Discovery Pool. The center hopes to see 250 to 1,250 of these fish return to the center in 2001.

ASLC is asking anglers fishing in the areas to keep an eye out for pink salmon lacking their adipose fin. An incentive program is under development to encourage anglers to bring in marked fish to the center. Fish biologists will obtain a fin clip to be used in genetic identification, then the fish will be returned to the angler.

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