Please select your home edition
Sailing Holidays 2019 - TOP

Teamwork saves harbor seal with teeth stuck in grate

by NOAA Fisheries 22 May 14:04 UTC
Personnel at the hatchery in Valdez discovered a harbor seal with its teeth stuck in metal grating. © Rob Unger

A series of fortunate events recently led to a happy ending for a harbor seal. It had gotten its canine teeth stuck in the steel grated walkway at the hatchery in Valdez.

NOAA Fisheries received a call the morning of May 7 about an entangled seal at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery on Dayville Road. Hatchery personnel discovered the seal upon arriving at work and immediately cleared the area to lessen the animal's stress. They provided photos and details on the animal's condition to the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Program.

"This is the first time we've had an animal stuck in this manner," said NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator Mandy Keogh, who coordinated the response effort. "Everyone really went above and beyond to respond to this harbor seal in distress."

Keogh conferred with NOAA veterinarian Dr. Kate Savage and other marine mammal colleagues. They decided the best course of action was to sedate the harbor seal and remove it from the metal grating.

Dr. Carrie Goertz from the Alaska SeaLife Center provided advice on drug combinations and dosage for the 85-pound animal.

Hatchery personnel monitored the harbor seal until qualified professionals arrived on the scene. Two veterinary technicians in Valdez for work with International Wildlife Rescue volunteered to help sedate, examine, and release the seal.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the seal was successfully freed from the grate. An examination showed some fresh blood and swelling in the mouth and lower jaw, but no obvious fracture.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company donated the use of a large dog kennel, where the seal rested until it recovered from sedation. Alyeska also assisted with logistics and transportation to shore, where the animal was released back into the wild just after 9 p.m.

"This marine mammal response was a win-win. In light of current travel restrictions, our agency could not send staff to Valdez for this rescue, but we worked with a diverse group of volunteers to free this animal," said Keogh. "Ultimately, we were able to get this seal freed from the steel walkway, evaluated, and released."

If you see injured, entangled or dead marine mammals, immediately call the NOAA Fisheries' Alaska Statewide 24-hour Stranding Hotline at (877) 925-7773.

Related Articles

Newly weaned seal pup needs community help
NOAA and partners are requesting beach goers and ocean users keep their distance A recently weaned female Hawaiian monk seal pup has been resting along the shoreline and swimming in the waters along O'ahu's Kaiwi Coastline. She has appeared near some busy beach areas and hauled out in areas with a lot of vehicle activity on the beach. Posted on 30 May
Researchers probe orca poop for microplastics
What are microplastics and why are researchers looking for them in whale feces? You might worry about your toddler chewing on a plastic toy with toxic chemicals. Some orca researchers are beginning to worry about whales ingesting a gut full of microplastics, and what that might mean for their health. Posted on 29 May
Busy Atlantic hurricane season is expected
Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Posted on 24 May
Team frees entangled humpback whale
Multiple sets of fishing gear were so heavy, they 'anchored the whale in place' A trained response team on Monday freed a humpback whale in Monterey Bay. It had become so severely entangled and weighed down by commercial dungeness crab fishing gear that it could not move. Posted on 23 May
Technology unlocks the world of beaked whales
It takes a combination of luck and perseverance to study them. Beaked whales are a fascinating and elusive group of cetacean species. Beaked whales live in deep water environments, and dive to incredible depths for long periods of time, making them mysterious and difficult to find. Posted on 16 May
How well do you know Hawaii's hawksbill turtles?
This Endangered Species Day, take our 10-question quiz to find out! May 15 marks Endangered Species Day, a time when we celebrate the protection of endangered species and their habitat. Hawai'i is often called the endangered species "capital" of the nation. Posted on 15 May
Importance of Sea Stars in deep-sea ecosystems
Key finding of a new article by Christopher L. Mah Sea stars play an important role in deep-sea ecosystems, especially as predators of sponges and corals (mostly octocorals). Posted on 3 May
Teams free entangled humpback whale
Fast coordination by trained responders leads to safe and successful outcome A trained team freed a humpback whale entangled in lines from a prawn trap set off Santa Cruz Island on Tuesday afternoon, April 14, 2020. Posted on 29 Apr
Restoring Gulf 10 years after Deepwater Horizon
See how we're working with partners and Gulf communities to restore its fisheries and habitats The impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected the entire Gulf ecosystem. Oil sank down to the ocean floor, mixed into the water column, seeped into marshes, and soiled beaches. Animals swam through it, inhaled it, and even ingested the oil. Posted on 28 Apr
One program's quest to save endangered turtles
A new StoryMap details the struggles faced by hawksbill sea turtle population In Hawaii, fewer than 200 nesting female hawksbill sea turtles have been documented in the last 30 years. These turtles—known as honu'ea in Hawaiian—make up one of the most endangered sea turtle populations in the world. Posted on 19 Apr
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterGrapefruit Graphics 2019 - FooterUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER