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Holiday gifts came a little early at the New England Aquarium, which was presented last week with a rare 4-month-old fur seal pup from Alaska, where it was found motherless, underweight, and dehydrated, the aquarium said.

The pup, who is described as "lovable but feisty," was found in Sand Point, an Aleutian island. Someone had placed the 9.5-pound pup in a box and left him on the doorstep of the Department of Fish and Game. The only hint of the seal's past was a note that said the pup's mother likely died during childbirth, the aquarium said in a statement.

The pup was found motherless, underweight, and dehydrated in Alaska, the aquarium said.
The pup was found motherless, underweight, and dehydrated in Alaska, the aquarium said.New England Aquarium

The young seal was dubbed "Chiidax," which means small, young animal in the local language, the aquarium said.

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Chiidax was transported to Seward where rescue biologists had a hard time caring for him, since he was one of the first baby seals they had ever cared for. Eventually, Chiidax regained his health and doubled his weight, the aquarium said.

Because the pup was raised by people, it was decided he could not be released into the wild. It was decided that Chiidax should travel to the New England Aquarium's breeding program.

After a 14-hour cargo flight, Chiidax arrived last week to the aquarium's off-site animal care center in Quincy. He will spend 30 days quarantined in the center before he can join the staff and other sea creatures in Boston, the aquarium said.

Chiidax, who has "enormous eyes and even bigger ears," is expected to bond with Kit, a fur seal pup born in August, as well as with Flaherty and Leu, slightly older seals.

The public can expect to see Chiidax on display in the aquarium's harborside seal exhibit sometime in January.


Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson