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Mr. Mojo risin'
After three weeks of medical treatment and a whole lot of herring later, it appears that a once-sickly seal lion pup is out of the woods.
Emaciated and suffering from dehydration, the Stellar sea lion pup arrived at San Juan Island's Wolf Hollow Rehabilitation Center Feb. 17. Thanks to a steady dose of fluids and antibiotics, and a daily regimen of vitamins and "lots and lots of fish", it gained about 20 pounds in three weeks and is back up on its feet, uh, flippers, that is.
"It's eating around 10 percent of its body weight a day now," said Wolf Hollow's Shona Aitken, education coordinator. "It regained a lot of its strength and the light in its eyes came back as time went by."
Aitken said the health of the young sea lion rebounded to a point that on Wednesday it was moved from a small room inside the rehab center, where its condition could be closely monitored, to a outdoor holding pen where it has a bit more room to roam.
"We're still keeping a close watch on him to keep track of his health and to make sure he doesn't get to cold," she said.
Nicknamed Mojo by center staff, the pup presumably had been abandoned when it was found alone on beach on the outer coast of central Washington, near the town of Moclips. Weighing about 81 pounds at the time, the young pup was captured, bundled up and transported to Wolf Hollow by Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel.
At the time WDFW took the pup under its wing, Aitken said the odds of it surviving were poor.
"Basically it's too young to be on its own," she said. "It should be with its mom and still suckling at this age. It's too young to hunting and feeding on its own."
Treating and caring for an ill or injured seal is nothing new at Wolf Hollow, unless its a Stellar. The rehab center's typical patient is a Harbor seal, much smaller in stature and generally less aggressive and far less voracious. In fact, Mojo is only the second Stellar the center has treated during its 30 years as the region's leading wildlife rehabilitation center.
Six years ago, the center restored the health of a young Stellar female, nicknamed "Sedna", which was later released back into the wild. Aitken said that Mojo's condition is still under observation and that it is too early to say when he may be released.
Though not commonplace, when it comes to Stellars, it appears Wolf Hollow is 2-for-2 and still batting 100 percent.