GALVESTON, Texas – The outlook seemed grim for Tomato and Ravioli when they were rescued off the coast of California last year, but the two seal pups have found a new home and a renewed chance at life at Moody Gardens.
The two arrived at Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid on Feb. 23, more than seven months after they were rescued by Northcoast Marine Mammal Center in Crescent City.
“The two go together like, well, tomato and ravioli,” Moody Gardens said in a press release on Wednesday. They were named by the mammal center in California that continued its trend of naming animals after food items.
Tomato, then a 4-month-old pup, was found on a boat ramp last July with serious injuries after a suspected dog attack, which left him blind in one eye. Because of his injuries, caretakers at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center deemed he was unable to return to the wild.
Tomato was one of the lucky ones. Many young seal pups don’t survive dog attacks, said Karen Helms, the center’s executive director.
Tomato has grown from a 32-pound pup when he was found to a beefed up 110 pounds since his rescue. He's now almost a year old.
Ravioli was found last March abandoned by her mother after tourists picked her up in an apparent attempt to rescue her. Ravioli was born pre-mature and suffers from a disorder that causes neurologic and balance problems. She suffered from seizures when she was first rescued and was unable to regulate her body temperature.
“Seal mothers give birth on the beach and frequently leave their pups to feed,” said Diane Olsen, assistant curator of seals and penguins at Moody Gardens. “Attempting to rescue what you think is an abandoned seal pup can dramatically decrease their chance of survival.”
Ravioli, too, as deemed unable to return to the wild. Since her rescue, Ravioli has packed on 68 pounds. She's also almost a year old.
The two are currently being held in a holding room at Moody Gardens for a mandatory 30-day quarantine. The staff will then introduce them to the other seals pups—Siku, Sam, Squirt and Porter.
Already they've been welcomed with open arms.
“It seemed like the perfect fit,” Olsen said.