A rare zoo birth happened in February – a Ringed Seal was born at Burgers’ Zoo, the only zoo in the world to breed this species. This is the second Ringed Seal birth at the zoo, which is in the Netherlands.
Photo Credit: Burgers' Zoo
Early in the morning on February 17, zoo keepers arrived at work and discovered the pup in the Seal exhibit. Mom tucked the baby in a sandy hollow in a corner of the exhibit and visits the pup to nurse it several times a day. Seal milk is rich and nutritious, and pups typically double their body weight in the first week.
Ringed Seals are the most common Seals in the Arctic and are often preyed upon by Polar Bears. They are the smallest member of the earless Seal family, weighing up to 300 pounds as adults. These Seals are rarely found far from ice, and often hunt for fish along the edges of sea ice.
Ringed Seals are currently listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but scientists are worried that the Seals could be affected by climate change. As sea ice melts, the Seals could lose their breeding and feeding grounds.
See more photos of the Seal pup below.