Shelby, a popular Harbor Seal at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California,
gave birth to a male pup on May 1. The 32
pound (14.8 kg) pup is the second for Shelby and her mate, Troy.
Photo Credit: Hugh Ryono
The new pup is much larger and hungrier than Shelby’s first pup. According to keepers, Shelby has to end
nursing sessions herself, rather than waiting for the pup to finish. Keepers have been giving Shelby extra fish so
that she can produce enough nutritious milk for her growing pup.
Keepers also report that this pup is unusually vocal. He calls loudly to get his mom’s attention,
then enjoys floating on his back next to Shelby.
Most Harbor Seals give birth to their first pup at age four or five, but mother Shelby just had her first baby at age 16! The female pup was born April 26 in the Aquarium of the Pacific's Seal and Sea Lion Habitat. The little girl weighed around 20 pounds at birth. The pup appears to be healthy and behaving normally. As you can see in the first video below Harbor Seal pups can swim immediately after birth!
Staff members are currently allowing the mother and pup to bond and will continue to monitor the animals. Aquarium staff members closely monitor the health and well-being of all of the Aquarium’s animals on a continuous basis. Shelby’s pregnancy was discovered during a recent exam by Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams. Husbandry staff members determined that keeping Shelby on exhibit in her normal surroundings would be the best option for keeping her comfortable during the pregnancy.
“Since Shelby is a first-time mother, she does not have experience rearing young. The Aquarium’s marine mammal experts will be watching Shelby’s parenting skills to ensure the pup is receiving the proper nutrition while Shelby and her pup begin to bond. The staff is cautiously optimistic, as seal pups are at the highest risk during the first few weeks of life,” said Dudley Wigdahl, the Aquarium’s curator of marine mammals.
Arctic fox babies are called either pups or kits. A litter usually has about seven kits but may contain up to fifteen. The Arctic fox is an incredibly resilient animal that can live in temperatures as low as -59° F and as warm as temperatures we experience in Southern California. They are found in the Arctic and alpine tundra regions, from coastal Alaska and Greenland to Scandinavia and Russia.
Aquarium visitors have the chance to take a sneak peek at the newest furry baby animal at the Aquarium of the Pacific through daily behind-the-scenes tours as of Friday, Dec. 10. The three-month old orphaned Sea Otter was stranded and rescued off of Santa Cruz when she was just weeks old.
Found alone on the Central Coast of California, a whimpering little otter pup was rescued and taken to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Too young to fend for herself but too old to be placed in the surrogate otter mom program that would have provided her with the necessary life skills to be returned to the wild, "Furball" (eventually renamed Maggie) was adopted by the Aquarium. More specifically, she was adopted by marine mammal trainer "Hugh" who has spent the last few months as her surrogate dad, including many nights sleeping next to the young otter. Watch the adorable video below and learn more about Hugh's adventures with Furball on the Aquarium's blog.