marine mammals

Brianna McGrath

A Steller sea lion in poor health was sighted at Morris Cove in Unalaska over the weekend, prompting biologists to observe the adult male until it died early in the week. 

"It's really unusual to have sea lions hauling out on the soft sanded beaches," said Melissa Good, a marine advisory agent with Alaska Sea Grant. "We often see them hauled out on the marker buoys or on some of the rocky points where they have rookeries or haul out areas. But we very rarely see them hauled out on a beach, especially here near town."

 

 

Courtesy of Alaska SeaLife Center

Local residents are rallying to save the Alaska SeaLife Center, the state's only marine mammal rescue center and a hub for scientific research. 

The educational facility in Seward — which opened in 1998 — is in danger of closing permanently this fall if it can't raise enough money to make up for the economic loss  caused by a dramatic decline in summer visitors, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Andy Dietrick / NMFS (NOAA MMHSRP Permit # 18786-03)

Unalaskans helped to free a humpback whale last weekend after it was caught in fishing lines and buoys in Unalaska Bay.

A responder with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led the disentanglement team, which included local port officials, NOAA officers, and residents like Andy Dietrick and Dan and Sue Magone.

KUCB's Laura Kraegel spoke with John Moran about his team's 12-hour response that spanned two days.

If you see a marine mammal in distress, report the sighting to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-877-925-7773.

USFWS

 

 

Dead and dying sea otters are being found along the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula.

 

During an aerial survey in March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted 56 dead otters from Cold Bay to Pilot Point.

 

Otters in Port Moller and Nelson Lagoon tested positive for streptococcus infection -- a common cause of sea otter mortality.

 

Melissa Good / Alaska Sea Grant

Unalaskans are used to spotting marine mammals around the island.

But lately, they're not just seeing whales or otters. They're seeing ringed seals — an Arctic species that typically lives far north of the ice-free Aleutian Islands.

Now, scientists are monitoring the unusual visitors to find out why they're here.  

Pages