When she arrived in our care on August 8, Harbor Seal 13-2161 was a very sad looking girl. After spending three days alone on a Bainbridge Island beach, the pup was dehydrated, emaciated, and extremely weak. She appeared to be little more than skin and bones.
Hiding inside the seal pup's frail frame was a vibrant, healthy animal waiting to come out. It took over two-and-a-half months of hard work and diligent care from the wildlife center staff to reveal that hidden seal, but she was clearly visible as I netted her and pulled her out of her pool for the last time on October 26.
Once she was placed on the deck, the now very plump seal began to scoot away.
Once the seal was safely contained in the carrier, she was placed on a scale for her final weigh-in. She tipped the scales at just over 52 pounds, which meant she had gained nearly 36 pounds during her time at PAWS.
After the weigh-in it was off to Everett where a boat operated by Everett City Parks was waiting to provide transportation to the release site. Arriving at the site, PAWS board member Karen Smith opened the carrier to set the seal free.
After getting a look at her surroundings, the seal undulated down the ramp and returned to the wild with a big splash.
Swimming free for the first time in months, the seal began to explore her surroundings. She looked quite a bit smaller in Puget Sound than she had appeared in her 4,000 gallon pool at PAWS.