Baby harbor seal rescued from Baylands dies

Rescued pup was the first in 20 years from Palo Alto Baylands

A baby harbor seal rescued in the Palo Alto Baylands in April has died.

Floodgate Dolly, a 5-week-old pup rescued by Palo Alto Animal Services died April 29 of an apparent lung infection, according to a preliminary report by the Marine Mammal Center.

He became a pinniped celebrity of sorts after being caught against the Mayfield Slough flood gate at high tide on April 9. He was the first harbor seal rescued in Palo Alto that has been cared for by the center since 1991, according to Jim Oswald, a spokesman for the center.

A passer-by heard the 14-pound pup's cries as the seal bobbed up and down near the concrete wall, its head periodically disappearing under the water.

"We had a concern about the way the baby was struggling," Palo Alto Animal Services Officer William Warrior said at the time. "We were worried about him possibly drowning."

Climbing down the flood gate, Warrior and another officer lifted the black-and-silver pup out of the bay water using a net and brought the seal to the Palo Alto office of Peninsula Humane Society's Wildlife Rescue Center. The pup was later transferred to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

He was undernourished and dehydrated, and he weighed only half the normal weight for a pup his age, Oswald said after the seal arrived. The seal was tube-fed a "fish smoothie" and other nutrients and medicines.

Floodgate Dolly was given a female moniker because he was originally thought to be female. He probably came from Mowry Slough in Newark, one of a number of nearby spots where harbor seals gather in groups, Oswald said.


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Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

To everyone who tried so hard to save the life of Dolly, I send you a big hug and many thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Avec toi
a resident of Community Center
on May 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

I am so sorry to hear that the heroic efforts failed. Chances are Dolly wandered into the floodgate area accidentally due to the fact that she was sick and confused.

Thank you all for trying! I know your hearts are broken.

Like this comment
Posted by rider
a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Oh how sad. Poor little thing. I think Avec Toi may be right. Dolly was sick when she was found.

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Posted by Thank You
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Such sad news. Thank you for the valiant effort to save Dolly.

William Warrior was dispatched to our house a couple of weeks ago to help us with a bird situation. In the few minutes that we interacted, I sensed that he had a real heart for animals. We are very lucky to have him.

Thank you, Palo Alto Animal Services, for all that you do to make this community and our animals safe!

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 15, 2013 at 4:15 am

Sounds like the little fellow put up quite a fight; how sad he didn't make it. Thank you to the passer-by who heard his cries, to William Warrior and his crew, the Peninsula Humane Society's Wildlife Center, and the Marine Mammal Center. Also to Sue Dremann's always great writing, and coverage of such stories.

Like this comment
Posted by Tears
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Tears in my eyes about the seal pup! But also believe we have good people working for animals. William Warrior and PA Animal Services.

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