Critical Care Nutritional Support for Starving Seals

WHTG developed critical therapies and delivery systems to provide nutritional support for starving Northern Elephant Seals in rehabilitation.

  • Developing specialized care for rehabilitating animals
  • Partnering to support wildlife rehabilitation centers
  • Designing new delivery systems to meet patient needs
  • Working to reduce marine debris

Nutrition for Starving Seals in Rehabilitation

Approximately 80 to 100 Northern Elephant Seal (NES) weanlings present yearly on California’s North Coast in need of supportive care either for early weaning or failure to thrive.  Of these, 10% arrive severely underweight and fail to respond to routine supportive care, namely tube feeding and subcutaneous fluids.  Instead they present with regurgitation, diarrhea, weakness and lethargy.  Without further intervention their survival rate is less than 50%.


We were tasked with providing parenteral nutrition to these animals – a potentially life-saving combination of nutrients that can be delivered intravenously. We developed the methodology and delivery system to supply a continuous flow of nutrients to animals while minimizing restraint. To do this, we devised a backpack that includes the nutritional supplement and a delivery pump that is connected to a secure catheter thereby insuring continuous supply of nutrition while the animal remains mobile.


For more information on this project, please contact us!

If you would like more information on our training program, or need help with entangled animals, please contact us.