09/06/2017: "Harbor Seals Heading Back To Sea"
After more than 2 months of care at Wolf Hollow, 3 harbor seal pups Harbor seals (Zebu, Jersey & Tauros -L to R above) were returned to the wild on Thursday, September 7th. Wolf Hollow staff and interns, along with volunteers from the San Juan and Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Networks, board members and several excited supporters gathered to witness the release near Turn Point on San Juan Island.
Once the transport carriers were opened on the beach, it took a few moments for the seals to emerge and inch toward the water. They cautiously explored their new, larger surroundings until they finally began to swim and dive further and further from the shore.
The 3 pups released were the first to arrive this season. They have made amazing progress by gaining 30+ pounds over the last few months and mastering the necessary skills to survive in the wild (diving, “hauling out” on a platform and catching live fish). Here’s a bit more information about them:
Zebu was the first to arrive at Wolf Hollow this season. After being spotted alone on shore on Lummi Island, he was picked up by a member of the public and placed in someone’s yard. The Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network responded. After he received initial care at the Whatcom Humane Society Wildlife Division, he was transported to Wolf Hollow on 6/21. Zebu weighed just 14 pounds when he arrived. Although thin and only 5 days old, he was active and alert and had no apparent injuries. After a month of formula, he graduated to a fish diet on 7/18 and was transferred from the nursery to our medium pool on 7/25. He now weighs nearly 45 pounds!
Jersey was picked up by the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network after she appeared to be orphaned and was pulling herself up onto someone's paddle board. She was transported to Wolf Hollow on 7/2 and weighed 17 pounds. We estimated that she was around 4 days old. Her umbilicus was still attached. She had no wounds and was alert and active, but was very thin and dehydrated. She soon learned to eat fish and she was a very strong swimmer by 7/18. She graduated full time to our medium pool on 7/25 and was transferred to our large pool on 8/25. She now weighs nearly 52 pounds and is ready to return to the wild water!
Despite a very rough start, Tauros has made great progress in rehab. He was first seen on shore at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, WA on 6/28 when he was only a few days old. It was reported that beach visitors were taking selfies with him and handling him. He was first moved to the Whatcom Humane Society Wildlife Division for short-term wound care and then to Wolf Hollow on 7/3. Tauros weighed just under 13 pounds. Although we were initially very concerned about his prognosis, with proper medical treatment and a steady and nutritious diet, he became a strong swimmer and learned to haul out on the platform in our medium pool by 7/20. He soon graduated to a fish-only diet on 7/24 and now weighs nearly 43 pounds.
Wolf Hollow was able to resume marine mammal rehab this summer with the help of private donors and grants from the Orcas Island Community Foundation, San Juan Island Community Foundation, the San Juan Island Women’s Fund and the Lush USA Charitable Giving Program.