MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) – A northern fur seal that was rescued from Alaska in September has been introduced to its forever home inside the seal colony at Mystic Aquarium this week.
The seal was named Kayok, which means “golden” in Inuit. The seal’s name was chosen to honor the Inuit community, according to Mystic Aquarium.
Kayok was found malnourished and very weak in Alaska, she weighed 6.3 kg when she should have weighed around 15 kg. She was then rescued and brought to the Alaska Sea Life Center.
She gained weight during her time at the Alaska Sea Life Center. A trial period was initiated to determine if she could keep her weight while outdoors, but after several weeks it was determined that she could not.
Her survival chances dropped to 50 percent due to the fact she could maintain her body condition.
Kayok’s condition worsened, and she was deemed “non-releasable.” She was moved to the Mystic Aquarium in September, which houses six other northern fur seals.
She was released into the sea colony which includes harbor seals, endangered spotted seals as well and other fur seals.
Northern fur seals are currently listed as depleted on the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
If the population continues to decline, they risk being placed on the National Endangered Species Act, which is why conversation efforts are so important, according to wildlife experts.