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Harbor Seal Pup Rowdy Neal Found in Grassy Field Far From Ocean

Rowdy Neal is a Pacific harbor seal pup that was born premature and got separated from his mom just a few days after birth.

April 3, 2014

Harbor seal pups like Rowdy Neal that are born premature are always high-risk patients. While we do everything we can to help these young pups survive without their mothers, we are not always successful.

We are sad to report that Rowdy Neal’s condition quickly deteriorated last week, and he didn’t make it through the night. We are awaiting some test results to determine the exact cause of his decline.

March 20, 2014

Rowdy Neal is now getting the care he needs to grow and return to the ocean.
© The Marine Mammal Center


Rowdy Neal was spotted on a walking trail in Morro Bay Estuary near San Luis Obispo, California. Alan and Barbara Bruffey, of Seattle, were scouting for birds during a morning stroll when they suddenly saw a white flipper—and then a little head with big, sad eyes—in the middle of a grassy field.

“It’s amazing that Rowdy Neal was even spotted,” says Dereka Wallace, a trained volunteer from The Marine Mammal Center who conducted the rescue. Once she arrived on the scene, it took quite a while to find the poor pup again … until finally a fuzzy little head popped up out of the grass calling “Ma! Ma!” (That’s what harbor seal pups really sound like!) The tiny seal pup was marooned about a quarter-mile inland, likely washed in by a high tide and then left high and dry.

Thanks to the keen eyes of the rescuers who spotted him, this malnourished and underweight pup is now receiving meals five times a day at our hospital in Sausalito, California. Our animal care staff report that he is living up to his “rowdy” nickname: He and another pup in his pen, Albarino, like to wrestle and play together.

Give a Seal a Meal

You can help ensure that hungry pups like Rowdy Neal get the meals they need to grow strong and healthy. The fish our patients eat cost about a dollar a pound, and we have lots of hungry mouths to feed. Support our Dollar-a-Pound campaign to help feed our pup patients.

Rowdy Neal relaxes in his temporary home.
© The Marine Mammal Center


Your support will help ensure our patients get all the food and medicine they need for a second chance at life.

Watch a video of Rowdy Neal shortly after he was rescued:



Find out more about our Leave Seals Be campaign.

Learn about Pacific harbor seals!

Help us feed our pups by donating to the Dollar-a-Pound Campaign.

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