This is the third summer that the Alaska SeaLife Center has been open to the public, and according to Christine DeCourtney, Director of External Affairs, the Center is busier than ever before. "We have a lot of new exhibits and we are hosting many new animals in our rehabilitation department. We currently have seven seals that have been rescued from around the state and brought into the Center and it's exhausting our veterinarian staff, as the pups are like any babies and require feeding every two hours," said DeCourtney as she hosted a behind the scenes tour of the facility for a young visitor from Bogota, Colombia.
The Center recently finished it's three month nocturne program that hosts school children that come to the Center for an education program and spend the whole night camping out near the exhibits. "When we ask the students what they liked least about their experience, the most common comment is that we have to go home," said DeCourtney.
The Center is presently correcting some structure deficiencies on the outdoor decks, and when that construction is complete it'll be better for the researchers and the visitors. Earlier this year the Center worked with Seward residents to rescue an eagle that had been shot. After examining the injured bird, the Center's rehabilitation veterinarian, Dr. Natalie Noll, transferred the eagle to Bird TLC in Anchorage. While in rehab, the eagles mate continued to fly around the Center, "vocalizing" and looking for its mate. The bird was returned to Seward and released to its mate on May 25th.
"There is always something new. I've never worked in a place where people are as passionate and committed to their work. In the future we will be taking more of lead role in the Stellar Sea Lion research, but we also have a very exciting eider duck project that is going to allow us to be very pro-active in determining the decline in that population without it becoming an endangered species in Alaska," said DeCourtney. The Alaska SeaLife Center is dedicated to understanding and maintaining the integrity of the marine ecosystem of Alaska through research, rehabilitation, and public education.
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