Melanie worked with Seal Rescue Ireland as the executive director. She got a call from someone working at an aquaculture farm one day, saying that a young seal named Ili Pika was stranded on top of an oyster trestle bed. Due to the heavy machinery in the region, the mother seal was unable to save the infant.
The young seal was therefore rescued and transported to the Seal Rescue Care Center. She was always looking for her mother and suckling on the glass window enclosure, as any newborn seal would. That’s how they got the milk. Ili Pika was missing her mother, and this was a sign of that. As a result, her caregiver, Hayleigh, gifted her with a wetsuit.
The garment was made up of repurposed wetsuits that had been stuffed together. She nestled into the wetsuit mom since it resembled the newborn seal’s mother. The caregiver’s ultimate goal was to get her healthy and to the proper weight so that she could be released into the wild and thrive like any other seal.
Hayleigh began tutoring her. The newborn seal was fed by the caregiver, who poured fish into her bathtub. Ili Pika astounded the caregivers by becoming the world’s tiniest seal to eat fish. The calm newborn seal soon settled down and demonstrated her tenacity to everyone.
Ili Pika had to be avoided at all costs. She was adamant about not letting anyone near her bathtub. When Hayleigh was cleaning the tub, she kept hitting the brush and then growled and spit on her to express how irritated she was. This, however, was the wish of the caregivers. They wanted to get her ready for life in the wild.
Hayleigh and her crew were now confident that Ili Pika could join the other seals in the pool. So Ili Pika relocated to the rock pool and joined the other seals in care over a month later. She dashed out the door and into the sea. She made eye contact with another seal and exchanged a few words with him. Baby seals learn social cues in the pool in order to build muscles and compete against one another.
Ili Pika began to thrive. A seal’s ideal weight was 30 kilograms, yet she gained 2 to 3 kilograms per week. Ili Pika will be ready for the wild once she reached 30 kgs. The baby seal’s condition improved, and her carer, Hayleigh, expected the aggressive seal to return to the ocean shortly. Other seals in care, meantime, were getting ready to return to the wild. The seals embraced nature and cheerfully returned to their native home as soon as they were released.