Sunday, April 09, 2006

Would a sea lion, by any other name...

still smell as pungent?

I say YES!
It's been an interesting few weeks over at Wolf Hollow. I didn't go in on April 1st due to some stomach bug I had. But this past week they did try...and finally succeeded, in weighing our newest and largest ever, internee. Allow me to introduce Sedna, Wolf Hollow's first Steller's sea lion.

Up until now, we have only had Harbor seals in care. They use their back flippers to propel themselves while swimming and therefore can be handled relatively easy, as long as you are careful. We release them when they are around 80lbs. as long as they can swim well and eat moving fish(I'll explain that process later).

Sedna, on the other hand, was 6 months old when we got her, weighed 93lbs.(being 50lbs. underweight) and uses her front flippers to move, as do all sea lions. This makes them faster...a LOT faster, and VERY strong! We were told by the folks that handed her over to us that the day before they had tried to give her IV fluids and the person who got on top to immobilize her hadn't gotten her front flippers out from under her and was carried around the room clinging to Sedna while the other person followed after them carrying the IV bottle.

Needless to say, the learning curve in how to deal with her was steep and fast. It took 4 of us the next week to give ger fluids. Two people immobilized her, one person put in the needles, and I held 2 bags of fluid and tried to squeeze them as hard as I could to get the fluid in as quickly as possible. Even with all of that it took us an hour and we all had to keep a sharp eye on her mouth as she gets very bitey!

I mean, look at those teeth! She's only 6 months old and looks like she needs major dental work!

She is incredibly smart as well. We weighed her two weeks after she arrived and the only way we managed to do that is by "tricking" her into going into a large dog carrier by tossing herring into the back of it. That is the ONLY time that worked and that was over a month ago. This time they had to toss a blanket over her, wrap her in a net, put her in a sling, and then hang it from a tripod scale. She now weighs 160lbs.! She should be ready for release in about a month, assuming we can get her actually into the water, as she seems to not like it. Don't ask!