Baby Seal Takes the Plunge Minutes after Birth
May 11, 2012
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.
Photo 1 and 2 credits: Terri Haines. Photo 3 credit: Hugh Ryono
Pup's Birth and First Swim!
“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.
Follow the pup's progress on the Aquarium's blog.