A Real Natural Wonder: Panchita the Sea Lion

Rescued by a hotel's staff, one cute marine mammal has found a new home.

by - Posted on Mar 30, 2012

Panchita the seal lounges by the pool with a hotel guest

I just had to share the photo below, and the story that goes with it. Unlike some photos of this nature which have made their way around the Internet, this one is entirely real.

"She got caught up in a net some time ago ... with deep cuts all over her body she made it to the hotel where I stayed," says Eric Nies, former Real World New York star and fashion model, who was visiting the Galápagos Islands. "Some people at the hotel nursed her back to health for three months. Every day she returns to rest after being out to sea. She is now pregnant and expecting within a month. Her name is Panchita ... she even swims in the pool with you if you like."

Seal advocacy group The Seals of Nam posted the photo on its Facebook page. "Our organization is based in South Africa and mainly focuses on Cape Fur seals and ending the Namibian seal hunt," says Pat Dickens, the organization's founder. "The response has been absolutely phenomenal. It has taken me by complete surprise." The organization is looking to launch a census of the Cape Fur seals and encourage ecotourism in the area.

Seals of Nam

We're working hard right now on our new Mysterious Ways magazine. One feature in every issue will be "Natural Wonders," which will highlight photos of extraordinary animals, landscapes and other phenomena found in nature that stretch the limits of what seems possible. Like a sea lion coming back to the same place day after day to "thank" her rescuers.

Do you have an incredible photograph of a "Natural Wonder"? Something you snapped yourself, or saw online or in your local paper? Send it to us at mw@guideposts.org (or via this link), and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of Mysterious Ways!

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