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Northern fur seal a first for SeaLife Center

By KTVA CBS 11 News 12:39 PM November 21, 2013

Chiidax was found in Sand Point in July

ANCHORAGE – It’s an overload of adorable at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.

Staff are taking care of a baby northern fur seal — a first for the center.

The four-month old pup is named Chiidax, which is an Aleut word for “small, young animal.”

He was found in July in Sand Point on the Aleutian Chain, about 200 miles from the nearest rookery.

Chiidax has almost doubled in size during his time at the SeaLife Center, weighing about 18 pounds. Full-grown male northern fur seals can reach up to 600 pounds.

Staff said it’s been an interesting challenge figuring out how to care for him since fur seals depend on their mothers for food for at least the first four months of life.

“We do our best to duplicate that with a special formula depending on what species the animal is,” explained Stranding Supervisor Halley Werner. “Since this is the first northern fur seal we have, we actually needed to create that formula and find what would best meet his nutritional needs.”

Chiidax will be transferred to his new home at the New England Aquarium in Boston Dec. 3.

That aquarium has the largest fur seal population in the United States and staff say Chiidax will have a lot of new friends to play with.

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