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Orphan Baby Seal ‘Yells’ At Caretakers When They Try To Clean Her Bathtub

Written by: Dee Michaels
Dee Michaels is a passionate and accomplished writer, renowned for his heartwarming and engaging stories on more
| Published on April 6, 2024

Upon her arrival at the rescue center, Ili Pika, a baby seal, was visibly fraught with fear and distress, her actions painting a picture of a young one in dire need of her mother’s comfort. Her unfortunate predicament began when she was discovered perched atop an oyster trestle bed at an aquaculture farm, an environment alien and hazardous to such a vulnerable creature. The presence of heavy machinery in her vicinity was a likely factor in the disappearance of her mother, leaving Ili Pika alone and frightened.

In an innovative and heartwarming effort to provide solace to the orphaned seal, the rescuers introduced a “wetsuit mom” to Ili Pika. This ingenious solution involved fashioning a surrogate mother from recycled wetsuits, designed to mimic the feel and warmth of a real seal mother. The effect of the wetsuit mom on Ili Pika was immediate and profound. She instinctively gravitated towards it, seeking the comfort and security she had lost. The sight of Ili Pika cuddling up to her wetsuit mom and drifting off to sleep was a touching moment of peace and reassurance for both the baby seal and her caregivers.

This thoughtful intervention not only provided Ili Pika with the emotional support she desperately needed but also underscored the rescue team’s dedication to the wellbeing of marine life in distress. The creation of the wetsuit mom represents a blend of creativity and compassion, offering a glimmer of maternal care to a young seal navigating the world without her mother.


The ultimate goal for lli Pika was to get her healthy and up to a proper weight so she could be released back into the wild. At first, she was quiet and reserved. But as she settled in, she showed her feisty side. She loved her bathtub and didn’t want anyone else near it. When her caretakers tried to clean it, she would slap the brush away and scream at them. This behavior was actually a good sign, as it showed that she was becoming more wild and would be able to compete well in her natural habitat.


As lli Pika grew healthier and reached 13 kilos, she was ready to join the other seals in the rehabilitation pools. This was the first time she would come into contact with other seals, which is a crucial step since seals are social animals. It was like a little kid’s first day at school. She quickly made friends with another seal named Pangolin, and they swam around together, getting used to their new environment.


The pools are the last stage of rehab for lli Pika, where she will learn social cues from other seals, build up her muscles, and learn to compete for food. She has already begun to flourish and is putting on a healthy amount of weight. Once she reaches 30 kilos, she will be deemed ready for the wild.

While lli Pika’s recovery continues, the rescue center is excited that some of their other seals are ready to return to the ocean. Releasing them is bittersweet for the caretakers, who have been with these animals since the start of their lives. But once the seals are released, their instincts kick in, and it’s clear that the open ocean is where they’re meant to be.

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