The staff at the New England Aquarium got a real-life gift from the "North Pole" this month - a rescued Northern Fur Seal pup arrived from the Alaska SeaLife Center. (The pup traveled by FedEx cargo plane, not Santa's sleigh!)
Photo Credit: New England Aquarium
ZooBorns first reported on the pup's rescue here. The pup, named Chiidax, was left in a box at the Alaska Fish & Game office on the remote Aleutian Island of Sand Point with a note attached stating that its mother died while giving birth.
Officials whisked the underwight, dehydrated pup to the Alaska SeaLife Center 500 miles away, where he quickly doubled his weight under their expert care. Because he was hand-raised and his exact birth area was unknown, the staff determined that Chiidax could not be released back into the wild. Luckily, the New England Aquarium has a successful breeding program for Northern Fur Seals and was eager to bring Chiidax to its Fur Seal exhibit.
Chiidax has a playmate ready to meet him at the aquarium - Kit, a female Fur Seal born in August. Aquarium officials expect Chiidax to move into their harborside Seal exhibit sometime in January.
Northern Fur Seal populations have declined over the past decades. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.