Bearded seal pup named after Alaska village where she was found
The bearded seal pup rescued by students in an Alaska village, and brought to the Alaska SeaLife Center, now has a name.
The Alaska SeaLife Center said they asked the students to name the seal pup, which they agreed to call Saktuliq in honor of their village of Shaktoolik.
Saktuliq is the Inupiaq spelling of Shaktoolik, which means "scattered things."
"Our village is one of the oldest villages in Alaska and quite historical," elementary school bilingual teacher Ethel Fuller said. "Naming the seal Saktuliq will help honor our home and community."
Saktuliq was taken into the SeaLife Center in April. Students found her near the shore and protected the pup from people and other animals. The village then called the SeaLife Center and Saktuliq was transported to Seward.
When she arrived, the SeaLife Center said the seal pup was extremely underweight and had difficulty regulating her body temperature while swimming.
"When she first started swimming, staff had to assist her out of the water to ensure she didn't get too cold," Husbandry Director Lisa Hartman said.
Staff worked to increase the seal pup's blubber layer and fed her every four hours.
Since April, Saktuliq has gained 45 kilograms, roughly 99 pounds. She arrived weighing just 23 kilograms, about 51 pounds.
The SeaLife Center says Saktuliq's condition has greatly improved and she can now be viewed at the center's I.Sea.U critical care unit.
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