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Orphaned seal pup whose mother was killed by hunter finds a home at a wildlife sanctuary in Alaska

April 9, 2010 |  1:58 pm

Maxwell the rescued seal pup

SEWARD, Alaska — A rescue center in Alaska has taken in an orphaned baby seal that was still in the womb when a hunter killed its mother on Easter Sunday.

The Alaska SeaLife Center says a subsistence hunter killed the pup's mother in a village on Nelson Island in the Bering Sea. The hunter then realized there was a live pup inside the seal and successfully delivered it.

The hunter's daughter found a hot line for the Seward rescue center and called to report the incident.

Guided by center staff, a village teacher helped transport the pup to the local airport, and the animal was flown to Anchorage.

SeaLife Center staff members met the pup, now called Maxwell, at the Anchorage airport and drove him to Seward on Monday.

Staff members say the pup has responded well to food and care, but his condition is still considered critical.

"Maxwell was close to full-term, and everything looks fairly normal," said Pam Tuomi, a center veterinarian. "But pups that have never received antibodies from their mother's milk are at higher risk for infection, so we will keep Maxwell in quarantine and monitor him closely for the next few weeks."

The nonprofit SeaLife Center is Alaska's only permanent facility licensed to house stranded marine mammals and seabirds for rehabilitation, a release from the center said.

Staff members choose a theme each year for naming animals admitted there, and this year the names are related to caffeine.

"We hope to give Maxwell a second chance at life as a wild harbor seal," said Brett Long, the center's husbandry director.

-- Associated Press

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Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center / Associated Press

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