The Aquarium of Niagara this week announced the addition of "Pup 2014" to its collection.
Harbor seal "Pup 2014," abandoned by his mother and rescued off the coast of northern California when he was just days old, joins the Aquarium of Niagara's collection of five other seals and sea lions. He will make his home in the aquarium's outdoor pool with Sandy, another harbor seal.
The male Pacific harbor seal was born blind, making it impossible for him to be re-released back into the wild. A highly trained staff of trainers worked diligently to transition the pup into his new pool and new routine. Aquarium Deputy Director Gary Siddall was part of the team that transported "Pup 2014" safely back to Western New York.
"It was a long journey from Oakland to Niagara Falls, but it could not have gone more smoothly," Siddall said. "He is adjusting nicely to his new home and new family."
The Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito, California, an organization that has been rescuing and treating endangered mammals since 1975, rescued the young harbor seal pup. Without its expert intervention, "Pup 2014" may have sustained injury from other wildlife, fallen ill or become malnourished.
When TMMC found him, the pup still had his umbilical cord, and was struggling to find food. Now, at 5 months old, "Pup 2014" is healthy, strong and learning how to receive daily meals from his trainers. At just over 50 pounds, "Pup 2014" is expected to grow swiftly to about 200 pounds in adulthood.
The Aquarium of Niagara will host a naming contest for "Pup 2014." Voting will take place both at the aquarium and via social media. After "Liking" the Aquarium of Niagara on Facebook or following it on Twitter, participants may vote on one of four potential names for the pup.
The most popular name will be announced the week of Oct. 27, and one naming contest participant will be chosen at random to become the official "Aquaparent" of "Pup 2014" for an entire year.
Saturday, Nov. 1, has been designated as "Reveal the Seal" day at the Aquarium of Niagara, featuring extra programs with the pup and public viewing opportunities.
To celebrate the pup's arrival, the Aquarium of Niagara is also sponsoring a "baby registry" for "Pup 2014" allowing the public to donate directly to his daily care. Visit http://gofundme.com/pup2014 for more details.