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Magoo Sighting!

Magoo is a harbor seal patient that we rescued earlier this year that was recently spotted lounging on a beach in Monterey County.


September 28, 2012

Magoo, hat tag, marine mammal center
Magoo the harbor seal sports a new hat tag at The Marine Mammal Center. The hat tag helps identify him easier in the wild and will come off during his natural molting of his coat in about six months.
© The Marine Mammal Center

One of the most important components of our work is studying marine mammal health issues that effect our patients, and one particular patient will help shed some light on harbor seal health. Earlier this year, our volunteers in Monterey rescued Magoo, a four-day-old harbor seal pup that had been found by beach goers all alone on a beach and being picked on by dogs and birds. Because he was so young, rescuers knew he should have been nursing and getting his mother's nutrient-rich milk, but because she wasn't there and he was very malnourished, they immediately brought him to our hospital for care. As it turned out, just being skinny wasn't his only problem - he also had a flipper deformity and his umbilical cord was infected.

It took a lot of TLC by our vets and volunteers, but after three months of being in our care, Magoo became healthy and fat, and ready for his first adventure in the ocean. We released him at at Elkhorn Slough in Monterey County. Unfortunately, his adventure didn't last long - almost two months later, he was found by a beach goer in Santa Cruz, weak and dehydrated and shivering, so Magoo was brought back to our hospital and treated for malnourishment and pneumonia. 

Magoo, harbor seal, satellite tag, marine mammal center, sighting
Magoo rests on a beach in September, 2012, with a seemingly big grin on his face.The satellite tag attached to him, along with the hat tag, will help scientists in their ongoing studies about harbor seal health.
© The Marine Mammal Center

After a short stay, it was time to get him back in the ocean. We kept our fingers crossed that he wouldn't encounter any other problems. As part of our ongoing study into harbor seal health in the bay, we attached a hat tag on his head and a satellite tag on his back so we can get a better understanding of his travels - valuable data as we continue to learn more about harbor seals! Both tags will naturally come off in about six months when he molts his coat.

We recently learned that Magoo was actually spotted near Watsonville, CA - just a few miles north of Elkhorn Slough. Apparently the locale suits him just fine and we're happy to see he's looking healthy!


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