Featured Image Credit: Moody Gardens
By Laura O’Brien
Two seal pups were rescued off the coast of California last year, after experiencing seemingly human-related issues. Northcoast Marine Mammal Center in Crescent City rescued one seal pup, now named Tomato, after an apparent dog attack last July. Tomato was only 4 months old at the time of the attack and was found on a boat ramp, blind in one eye. The majority of the center’s seals are rescued due to off-leash dog attacks. The executive director of the center, Karen Helms, said that Tomato was fortunate. Many seal pups do not survive such attacks. Unattended and stray dogs pose a serious threat to wildlife, which is one of many reasons why it is important to supervise pets and report loose dogs.
Ravioli was picked up by tourists who evidently thought they were rescuing her, however, the act caused the seal pup’s mother to abandon her. According to Diane Olsen, the assistant curator of seals and penguins at Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, “seal mothers give birth on the beach and frequently leave their pups to feed. Attempting to rescue what you think is an abandoned seal pup can dramatically decrease their chance of survival”. Ravioli was born premature, and she has a disorder which affects her nervous system and her balance. She was even having seizures when she was rescued.
Both seal pups were deemed unfit to release by the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, but now they are getting a fresh start at Moody Gardens. Tomato gained a whopping 78 pounds so far, and Ravioli packed on an impressive 68 pounds. They got their names during their stay at Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, in accordance with the center’s trend of naming animals after food. A press release by Moody Gardens stated, “the two go together like, well, tomato and ravioli”. The pup’s new seal friends are Porter, Sam, Siku, and Squirt. Diane Olsen even said, “it seemed like the perfect fit”.
Learn more from our sources http://www.khou.com/article/news/local/animals/rescued-seal-pups-get-new-home-at-moody-gardens/285-524583905 , and https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/welcome-home-tomato-and-ravioli-300607150.html.