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As a fulltime volunteer at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, JoAnn Smith takes hundreds of photographs of the marine mammals in their care. She also shoots all videos at the Center.
This summer, one northern elephant seal pup especially caught her eye.
“Joey was rescued in Newport Beach on my birthday in June, weighing only 87 pounds,” she said. “It was touch and go for the first few weeks as he was tube fed and given subcutaneous fluids to get him hydrated.”
Shortly after Joey started to improve, the Center received another northern elephant seal pup, nicknamed Slash due to a deep laceration across his nose.
“Slash weighed 98 pounds,” said Smith. The two recovering and fattening seal pups “became best buds in their rehabilitation process.”
After receiving loving care from volunteers and staff as well as plenty of fish, the pair were released together on October 9. At the time of their release, Joey weighed 355 pounds and Slash 410 pounds.
Photo of the fully recovered Slash (left) and Joey (right) at Pacific Marine Mammal Center, courtesy of JoAnn Smith.