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With no mother in sight and unable to survive on his own, newborn harbor seal Heyerdahl was brought to The Marine Mammal Center for care. He was one of more than 40 harbor seal pups at our hospital—twice as many harbor seals as we typically care for in the spring.

Without the antibodies from his mother’s milk, Heyerdahl and pups like him are at higher risk of illness. That’s why all of our harbor seal pup patients are cared for by a separate team of volunteers in an isolated area of the hospital that prevents cross-contamination with other patients that may be carrying parasites or viruses that could easily sicken these vulnerable pups.

After being in our care for three weeks, Heyerdahl transitioned from drinking milk formula to eating whole fish, just as he would in the wild. Once he was able to chase fish on his own and compete with his fellow pen-mates, he was released at Cypress Point in Monterey County on June 11, 2016.

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