After traveling 2,324 miles from Crescent City, Calif., to Galveston, Tomato and Ravioli are settling in to their new home at Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid.
It’s been a long journey for the two harbor seal pups, both just shy of being 1 year old. Each was rescued separately last year by the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center in Crescent City and cared for, but because of health problems the pups can’t be released back into the wild, Moody Gardens officials said.
“We had been looking to add seals to our North Pacific Exhibit and had been on the waiting list for a few years when we got the call about Tomato and Ravioli,” said Diane Olsen, assistant curator of seals and penguins at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid.
“It seemed like a perfect fit. The addition of Tomato and Ravioli furthers Moody Gardens’ commitment to assisting animals in the wild that are not able to be released back.”
The seal pups arrived at Moody Gardens last week and have spent the past few days settling in, officials said.
They’ll spend the next 30 days inside a holding room before going on exhibit with fellow harbor seals Siku and Porter, along with California sea lions Squirt and Sam later this month.
Rescued at just 32 pounds, Tomato has grown to a whopping 110 pounds and is 50 inches long. All of his injuries healed well, but one left him blind in one eye. With weakened eyesight, he would not be able to forage for food well enough to sustain himself in the wild, which could lead to malnourishment.
Ravioli was a premature pup and just a few days old when she was picked up by some well-meaning tourists last March. She was found on the beach and thought to be abandoned by her mother.
Ravioli suffers from neurological and balance problems because of a vestibular disorder. She had seizures and was unable to regulate her body temperature when she first arrived at the center. Because of her neurological and balance problems, she’d be unable to hunt successfully in the wild. She weighed only 12 pounds when she first arrived at the center, but left last week at a full 80 pounds and 43 inches long.