Kali going back to the wild

Seal pup found on K-Beach to be released by SeaLife center

Posted: Monday, August 28, 2000

A orphaned harbor seal pup found on Easter Day is spending her last few days at the Alaska SeaLife Center before finding a new home in Resurrection Bay.

Kali, named because she was found on the beach near Kalifornsky Beach Road, will be released near Aialik Glacier on Tuesday.

"That is where we have released other harbor seal pups in the past," said Jillian Simpson, marketing and development associate for the center.

Two other rehabilitated seal pups, Rainbow and Bristol, also will be released along with Kali into the unknown Tuesday.

"It will increase their chances in survival, strength in numbers," she said.

Danielle Goodrode, rehabilitation coordinator, said Kali had a good weaning period and took to fish quickly once at the center.

"She was a very good pup to rehabilitate," she said.

Of the three pups, Kali has resided at the center the longest.

"She is our veteran," Goodrode said.

The pups will be accompanied by Goodrode and director for rehabilitation and research operations, Susan Inglis, as well as others from the center.

Transportation of the pups to the glacier will be provided by Kenai Fjords Tours. The tour company has helped with seal releases in the past. The glacier, located in Resurrection Bay, is a three-hour boat ride from the center.

Kali was found by Mark and Jenifer Lockwood. They brought the pup inside their home, fed and looked after her until officials from the center arrived.

"We knew we were going to loose her if we didn't pick her up," Jenifer Lockwood said.

The Lockwoods had visited the center in the past and knew they had research facilities, so they called.

"If it weren't for the Alaska SeaLife Center, there would have been a lot of animals lost. We just knew that they would take care of her," Lockwood said.

While waiting for center officials to arrive, the family put the pup in a tub of water, as advised by the center, and fed it a bottle. Mark and Jenifer took the chance to snap a picture of the pup and their 5-month-old daughter Denali.

"It is just a priceless picture," she said.

When Kali arrived at the center, staff determined her to be about 2 days old. At that time, she was malnourished and still had a fleshy umbilicus, Kali had a pretty good prognosis, officials said.

When released, the seal pups will have been tagged with radio transmitters. The transmitters will help the center monitor their survival and serve as a tool to help the center study seal migration patterns.

Simpson said the research is important because harbor seal numbers are decreasing in the North Pacific.

"They are a population in decline," she said.

The transmitters will stay on until the pups molt, ideally Simpson said, a length of 11 months.

The Lockwood family said they are fortunate to live in Alaska because of this experience. They said they are happy to hear Kali is doing fine and going to find a new home.

"I really hope that she does well," Lockwood said.

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