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Harbor Seal Pup at Albuquerque Zoo 1

On April 13, eight-year old Harbor Seal Gracie, gave birth to a bouncing baby pup in a special birthing pool. Gracie arrived at the Albuquerque BioPark in 2004 after sustaining a gunshot wound which caused significant eyesight loss. BioPark staff were concerned that her impaired eyesight might be a problem in motherhood, but Gracie relies on her other senses to communicate. “Seals use scent and vocalization, so we’re finding that her eyesight is not an issue at all,” said Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager. “The pup is so cute. She nurses often and communicates with mom constantly, so there is a lot of vocalization. Usually after nursing, they play in the pool together.”

Harbor Seal Pup and Mom Albuquerque Zoo 1

Harbor Seal Pup and Mom Kiss at Albuquerque Zoo

Harbor Seal Pup at Albuquerque Zoo 2Photo credits: Katie Mast, courtesy of ABQ BioPark

The pup will remain off exhibit with her mother in the birthing pool until able to eat solid food. See more below the fold...

Harbor Seal Pup and Mom Kiss at Albuquerque Zoo 2

Harbor Seal Pup and Mom Swimming at Albuquerque Zoo 1

BioPark staff observed no mating between Gracie and the father, Oakley, a 21 year-old harbor seal donated to the BioPark in 1992.  They were delighted when an ultrasound revealed Gracie’s weight-gain was due to pregnancy.