The first elephant seal pup rescued in the 2017 season is doing well. She's recovering from her ordeal and making progress to being released back into her ocean home.
Stormy Night, as she was named by her rescuers, was tossed onto a pile of driftwood and kelp when hikers heard her cry and called The Marine Mammal Center. She was brought into the Morro Bay facility January 25 and sent to the main Sausalito hospital the next day.
She weighed only 33.5kg, 74 pounds. That's about what seal pups weigh when they are born. She should have weighed 200 pounds or more.
Veterinary staff at the hospital heard harsh breathing sounds in her lungs, indicating a mild case of pneumonia. She probably inhaled sea water while she was being tossed around in the waves. She was treated with antibiotics and her lungs are now clear and healed.
She was evaluated as malnourished due to being separated from her mother. The staff started feeding her elephant seal formula, a rich mix of ground Alaskan herring (sustainably caught) and salmon oil, thinned with water. She got 1,000 cc's, over four cups, of that three times a day.
|Volunteers Joy Sherrick and Jon Farhar tube feed Stormy Night after she was first rescued.|
She's just started to gain weight, about two pounds. But she has turned around and is healthy, if skinny.
"Stormy Night’s outlook is positive," said Diana Kramer, director of the Morro Bay facility. "She’s active and vocal. It may take several weeks for her to gain back weight she lost after separating from her mother."
TMMC staff are offering her whole fish, and she's interested.
"It's part of the learning process," Diana said. "It's a positive step towards learning how to eat independently."