The youngest offspring at Zoo Vienna is hard to miss. On July 17, a female fur seal was born. When it's hungry, it loudly draws attention to itself to get its mother's care. "In the first few days, the mother and the young seal were in the backstage area, but now they can be seen by the visitors in a specially designed shallow water area. The little one is already making its first attempts at swimming. The mother is very experienced and takes good care of her offspring," says Simone Haderthauer, the zoological curator. Fur seals can swim and dive from birth, but practice makes perfect! Once the young seal is confident both on land and in water, she will join the rest of the group.
Photo Credits: Daniel Zupanc
The commented feeding of the fur seals is a highlight of every zoo visit for many visitors. However, it will take some time before the young seal exclusively eats fish and participates in the feeding. During the first six to eight months, seal pups are nursed by their mothers. Haderthauer says, "Currently, even the adult seals don't have a big appetite for mackerel, sprats, and other fish. In the summer, after the pups are born, it's also the mating season, and the male, who keeps a harem, has little time to eat." The animal care team has also noticed that the recent heatwave has further reduced the seals' appetite. It's a good thing that cooling down is now the order of the day."