SeaLife Center harbor seal 'sorely missed' following health complications
A 33-year-old harbor seal was "humanely euthanized" following complications related to old age, according to officials at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
"Snapper," who was one of the SeaLife Center's original marine mammal residents, was put down on this week following his chronic illnesses including cataracts and arthritis, according to a statement from the SeaLife Center.
Officials say harbor seals that live in the wild can live as long as 30 years. Snapper outlived that statistic but his health began to decline.
"As a result of his mature age, staff monitored his health closely and addressed various age-related issues since he outlived a normal life expectancy," officials wrote.
Veterinarians tried everything they could to treat his illnesses, however, it got worse over time.
"Providing veterinary care for marine mammals can be very challenging, especially as we innovate to manage the issues that accompany our geriatric patients. From eye drops to ultrasounds, Snapper has been the bravest harbor seal patient, and he will be sorely missed,” said Alaska SeaLife Center Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Woodie.
Snapper was born at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut on June 21, 1984. He relocated to his new home at the SeaLife Center in Seward along with three other harbor seals in 1998.
Over the last 20 years, the SeaLife Center has participated in harbor seal research. Snapper was the largest and most dominate seal at the facility and was a big part of the research to learn more about his species.
"Starting in 1998, Snapper play Snapper played an integral role in an investigative study on the decline of harbor seals in the Gulf of Alaska," according to the release. "At the time, the harbor seal population in Alaska had reportedly decreased by 90 percent at the Tugidak Island, near Kodiak."
Snapper leaves behind his offspring: Tongass, Kaya, Kordelia and Kobuk.
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