Seal & Sea Lion

Birubi Finds Her Flippers At Taronga’s Seal Bay!

Taronga Zoo Sydney’s three-month-old long-nosed fur seal pup Birubi made her official debut at Taronga’s Seal Bay this week, just in time for the Easter School Holidays.

Birubi was born on December 21, 2020, to first-time mum Keke and was the first long-nosed fur seal pup to be born at Taronga in over twenty years. Just over three months old, Birubi has gone from strength to strength, with her size more than doubling since birth. Guests will have the pleasure of watching her find her flippers and may even be lucky enough to witness her take her first swim as she is now officially on display at Taronga’s Seal Bay!

TARONGA-Birubi-Debut_Please-Credit-Chris-Wheeler_2

TARONGA-Birubi-Debut_Please-Credit-Chris-Wheeler_7

Although she may be pint-sized, the little pup has a very confident personality and always has, according to keepers. “She loves to follow all of us around and is so intrigued by new people and items,” says Keeper Lindsay Wright. “It has been such a pleasure to watch Keke become a mother to Birubi, it is so crucial that they continue to be advocates for their wild counterparts,” says Wright.

Before conquering the depths of Taronga’s Seal Bay, seal pups need to master a few natural behaviours, which includes learning how to swim. Thus, Birubi and mum Keke has been spending most of their time off display in Taronga’s purpose-built pupping nursery. This facility has an adjustable floor which allows keepers to lower or increase the depth of the water. This allows the pup to grow in confidence with swimming before they are exposed to deeper waters.

Like most babies, Birubi will require some downtime to rest and re-energise. The best time to see her exploring and investigating her new environment is between 9.30 am-12.30 pm at Taronga’s Seal Bay.

Birubi joins a number of new arrivals these Easter School Holidays including Humphrey the koala joey, a Tree Kangaroo joey, seven Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys and of course Amalie an Australian sea lion pup!

Guests can also take advantage of their “Dine and Discover” vouchers and receive $25 off the purchase of their Zoo ticket and animal encounters as well as $25 off any food and beverage purchase. To find out more and book your tickets, please head to www.taronga.org.au/buy-tickets


Taronga Zoo Sydney is Celebrating the Birth of an Adorable Female Long nosed Fur Seal Pup

Taronga Zoo Sydney is celebrating the birth of an adorable female Long-nosed Fur Seal pup, who made her entrance into the world on 21 December 2020.

The pup, who is now three weeks old, was born to first-time mum Keke and is the first long-nosed fur seal pup to be born at Taronga Zoo in more than two decades.

P1566320
P1566320
P1566320
P1566320
P1566320

Keepers report mum and pup are doing extremely well and are getting to know one another in the quiet surrounds of the a purpose-built seal nursery.

Seal pups are not born knowing how to swim, so Keke will spend the next little while giving some swimming lessons before the pair are ready to venture from the nursery.

The little pup was just 3.58kg when she was first born, but has been suckling well and now weighs in at just over 4kg.

Keke is a rescue seal and was bought to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital in 2012 after she was found in Sydney Harbour with injuries from a boat strike. After prolonged treatment she was deemed not to be a suitable candidate for release.

An inquisitive and curious seal, Keke has spent the last few years engaging guests at the Seals for the Wild, powered by Red Energy.

While this little pup is not yet on display, visitors to Taronga can still see Amalie, an adorable five-month-old Australia Sea-lion, who is full of fun antics.

Taronga Zoo is open every day of the school holidays with more than 4,000 animals too meet from around the Whole WILD World.

Book your tickets at taronga.org.au


A Seal-iously Cute Announcement For Taronga Zoo Sydney

20200807-CWheeler-Seal-Pup-28_cover

Taronga Zoo Sydney is proud to announce the birth of a very cute, very playful Australian sea-lion pup who made her first splash today at Taronga’s Seal Bay and is calling on the public to help name the new arrival.

 

20200807-CWheeler-Seal-Pup-42

20200807-CWheeler-Seal-Pup-5

The female Australian sea-lion pup was born during the early morning of Wednesday the 30th of July to experienced Mother Nala and Father Charlie. This is Nala and Charlie’s second pup together, following the successful birth of Torre a male Australian sea-lion pup who was born in late 2018.

“Weighing in at only 7kg at birth, the little pup has increased not only in weight but has shown a massive increase in confidence over the past week. She is now constantly swimming and playing in the water, which is the type of progress we would like to see at this age” says Marine Mammals Unit Supervisor Brad McKenzie.

“We are thrilled that she is going to be out on display these spring school holidays. At the moment she is learning to vocalise and although I may be biased, but it is probably one of most adorable sounds ever!” say Mckenzie

All births at Taronga are considered significant and special moments, but the recent birth of this Australian sea-lion pup is not only incredible news for Taronga and their breeding program but is wonderful news for this native marine species.

Australian Sea-lion numbers in the wild continue to decline due to isolated populations, over-fishing and entanglement in fishing debris. That is why on this special occasion Taronga is calling on the public to help name their latest, but not so tiniest addition with the launch of seal pup naming competition.

The public will get to choose from two names; Amalie which is a tribute to the pup’s late Grandfather and Nala’s Father Mallie, or Kailani which is of Hawaiian origin and translates to sea and sky. The entry with the most meaningful reason behind their name selection will win a family pass to Taronga valued at $152 and a seal encounter and meet and greet with one of Taronga’s Marine Mammal Keepers. For more information, how to enter and T&C’s simply visit www.taronga.org.au/sealpupcomp

The pup and her mother Nala can now be seen throughout the day at Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Seal Bay at the Greater Southern Ocean Precinct these spring school holidays, where the pup will be playfully and utterly adorably exploring her new surroundings.


Baby Fur Seal Winning Fans in Poland

DSC_4135-Edit kotik

An African Fur Seal born on June 17 at Poland’s Zoo Wrocław is already charming zoo guests and her care team with her winning personality.

The pup was named Zuri by her fans on social media. The name comes from Shona, a language used by the Bantu peoples in the Seals’ native African home.

DSC_4029-Edit kotik mały
DSC_4029-Edit kotik małyPhoto Credit: Zoo Wrocław

A minor health issue resulted in Zuri requiring extra care from her keepers. Fortunately, Zuri turned out to be perfectly healthy, but her care team now has a special bond with the little Seal.

Zuri still nurses from her mother Nabi. She is the fourth African Sea Lion pup to be born at Zoo Wrocław. Her three siblings provide her with plenty of playmates. Zuri is still learning to swim, so she has yet to join the group in the main pool, preferring instead to practice swimming in a mini-pool behind the scenes.

The zoo’s Seals participate in daily training sessions, which zoo guests can watch. The training sessions allow the Seals to participate in their own medical care and permit the care team to monitor the animals closely.

African Fur Seals inhabit the coastlines of southwestern and southern Africa. For most of the year, the Seals live in the ocean, where they dive up to 600 feet to capture fish. Fur Seals come ashore only during the breeding season.

African Fur Seals are not threatened at this time, but other marine species are under pressure from reduced fish populations, caused when humans overharvest fish. Fur Seals are still legally hunted in Namibia for their fur and other body parts.


Sea Lion Pups at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

1_Gemini's pup  born 6-12-19

Visitors to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium can now see two new Sea Lion pups at the zoo’s Owen Sea Lion Pavilion.

The first pup was born June 12 to nine-year-old Gemini. Another was born on June 18 to Coco, who was born at Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium in June 2009. The sexes of the pups are currently unknown.

The California Sea Lion pups and their mothers are currently on exhibit with the father of both pups, 15-year-old Chino. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium currently has eight Sea Lions: two males, four females and the two new pups.

2_65028488_10157174436860851_598914828442009600_o

3_Gemini and pup  born 6-12-19

4_Coco and pup  born 6-18-19Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Visitors noticed that a significant amount of water has been drained from the Sea Lion’s pool. According to the zoo, this was done in preparation for the birth of the pups and will remain at a lower depth until both pups have learned to swim in deeper water. The zoo follows this routine each year in anticipation of pupping season. Mothers begin teaching their pups how to swim as early as a few days old by pulling them into the water for a short period of time for several days, each time getting farther and deeper into the water.

In 2020, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will open Owen Sea Lion Shores, a new sea lion habitat that will include elements such as natural boundaries, underwater viewing and state-of-the-art holding facilities complete with a diet prep area and holding pools. The area will include a natural beach, which will allow females to give birth on land and gradually introduce their pups to the water as they would in their natural habitats.

An integral part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Sea Lions includes the management of genetic diversity within the zoo network’s population. The SSP evaluates the population status and makes breeding recommendations. There are typically 15-20 breeding recommendations annually for Sea Lions, however, that changes based on the population status.

California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) are commonly found along the coastlines of the Pacific Northwest region. Males can weigh between 700 to 1,000 pounds while females can weigh between 200 to 250 pounds.


Rescued Sea Lion's Amazing Journey to Oklahoma City Zoo

Sea Lion Isla at the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (1 of 1)

A California Sea Lion pup’s amazing journey includes her rescue near Santa Barbara, a three-month stay in a rehabilitation center, release back into the Pacific, crossing a busy street, visiting a hotel lobby, and an eventual arrival at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Isla and Zoo Trainer Sierra at Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (1 of 1)
Isla and Zoo Trainer Sierra at Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (1 of 1)Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

The pup, named Isla, has experienced a lot in her 11 months of life. She was most likely born last spring off the California coast and was found emaciated and malnourished at the Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2018. When concerned citizens called the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institution (CIMWI), volunteers came to rescue the little pup.

The pup was transported to CIMWI’s facility to be rehabilitated in hopes of returning her back to the wild. After 90 days at the center, which included medication, increased fish intake, and daily health checks, Isla was released 25 miles offshore around other wild Sea Lions.

Nine days later, Isla swam the 25 miles back to Santa Barbara Harbor, got out of the water, crossed a busy street, and made her way into the lobby of the Alma Mar Motel. Once again, the CIMWI staff was contacted to rescue Isla.

Once back at CIMWI, the staff found that in the nine days Isla had been back in the ocean, she had lost nine pounds, meaning that she was unable to forage for herself in the wild. After weeks of observation, it became clear that Isla was more habituated to humans than she was to the other marine mammals in the institute’s care. CIMWI caretakers were certain that Isla would not thrive in the wild, so for her safety and well-being, she was deemed non-releasable.

Once it was decided that Isla could not return to the wild, CIMWI contacted National Marine Fisheries Service (a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA) to locate a zoo or aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), that could become Isla’s permanent home, and the Oklahoma City Zoo was selected. Two zoo staff members went to Santa Barbara to bring Isla to Oklahoma City in mid-May.

“By becoming a forever home for Isla and providing her with care, veterinary monitoring and an enriching environment, not only are we ensuring her survival, but we are also safeguarding the future of her species,” said Sierra Chappell, lead marine mammal trainer. “Her energetic spirit and inspiring story will resonate with Zoo guests and create a connection that will last a lifetime.”

Considered to be highly intelligent animals, California Sea Lions’ survival is based on the health of the ocean’s ecosystem. Sea Lions are threatened by plastic pollution and are vulnerable to the effects of climate change on ocean currents, which impact their fish prey abundance. They are also victims of bycatch in fisheries. The Oklahoma City Zoo participates in AZA’s Species Survival Plan for California Sea Lions.

 



 


Two Harbor Seal Pups Join the Pod at Zoo Berlin

Csm_03_49b393c26c

On a recent morning, keepers at Zoo Berlin began their daily inspection of the Harbor Seal habitat. One of the keepers’ first tasks is to perform a head count of the seven animals under their care. As they began to count, they noticed not seven pairs of dark eyes staring back at them, but eight! It soon became clear that female Shiva, age 23, gave birth to a pup during the night. A few days later, the same scenario: now there are nine Seals in the habitat! This time Molly, age 13, is the proud mother of a brand-new pup. 

Csm_08_fb93131d5e
Csm_08_fb93131d5e
Csm_08_fb93131d5ePhoto Credit: Zoo Berlin

Zoo Berlin is home to a large extended family of Harbor Seals. Male Leopold, age 21, sired two pups last year. His sons Gregor and Herbert are still part of the group, which also includes females Lara, age 18, and Yohanna, age one. 

Harbor Seals have a gestation period of up to eleven months. Pups are born with the same smooth fur as the adults and can swim almost from birth. 

Harbor Seal pups are weaned at around two months old. “Seal pups are much more vulnerable to attack on sand banks than they are in the water, so they have to grow up quickly,” explains Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr. Andreas Knieriem. “Before too long, the newborn Seals will be almost indistinguishable from their parents.”

In the wild, these aquatic mammals are found all over the northern hemisphere – on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as in the North Sea and the Baltic. However, they are very rare on the northern European coasts. Commercial hunting of Harbor Seals was banned several decades ago in most countries around the world. Only native peoples are permitted to hunt these seals for subsistence hunting.


Sea Lion Pups Double the Excitement at UK Zoo

3_Hanno (3)
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s keepers have a couple of exciting new additions to care for, with the arrival of two California Sea Lion pups.

Adventurous male pup, Hanno, was born to first-time mum, Lara, on June 10. Laid-back male, Oakley, was born to second-time mum, Bailey, on June 23.

After giving birth at the UK’s largest Zoo, ten-year-old, Lara, and eleven-year-old, Bailey, have taken to motherhood swimmingly and are already proving to be doting mums to the lively pups.

Team Leader, Tim Savage, is overjoyed at the new arrivals and said, “The first pup was immediately so curious and adventurous, we decided to name him Hanno, after the fifth century oceanic explorer. At night he goes on little missions and explores the sea lion house!”

“Lara’s always been the cheekiest member of the group, but she’s so attentive with Hanno, never letting him out of her sight. Every time Hanno tries to go near the water, she pulls him back. This isn’t Bailey’s first pup, so she’s much more confident and relaxed. She leaves Oakley to snooze while she goes off for a swim.”

Tim continued, “They’ve both had a little splash in the pool, but neither of the pups are strong swimmers yet. Over the next month they will learn to dive, and practice holding their breath, and soon visitors will see them confidently swimming around the pool with their mums, and dad Dominic.”

2_Lara and pup Hanno

1_Hanno (1)

4_Hanno (2)Photo Credits: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Images 1-4: Hanno /Images 5-8: Oakley)

Covered in fur, the pups will eventually grow to be over two meters long. The new pups are a valuable addition to the colony of California Sea Lions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and the European conservation breeding programme for the species.

Originating from the rocky coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, along the west coast of the USA, California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) live in large colonies, led by a dominant male and his harem of female mates.

Tim shared, “After a birth, male Sea Lions guard their harem of females, which means they do not leave to get food. Although Dominic has no competition and plenty of food available to him here, he acts in exactly the same way, fasting for a month and making a lot of noise to show this is his territory! Don’t feel too bad for him though, he prepared for his fast by eating lots before the births!”

Summer visitors to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will be able to see Hanno and Oakley learning to swim alongside the rest of the Sea Lion clan. Visit www.zsl.org to find out more.

5_Bailey and her pup Oakley 2 (3)

6_Bailey and her pup Oakley 2 (2)

7_Oakley

8_Bailey and her pup Oakley


Seal Welcomes Third Pup at Aquarium of the Pacific

1_Shelby&Pup

The Aquarium of the Pacific is pleased to announce that one of their Harbor Seals, named Shelby, gave birth to a pup on April 20. Shelby is one of the Aquarium’s original animals and was two-years-old when the nonprofit facility opened in 1998.

Most seals give birth to young starting at four to five-years-of-age. So at twenty-two years old, Shelby is considered a mature mom. This is her third pup. Shelby gave birth to her first pup, a female named Bixby, in April 2012 at age seventeen and her second, a male named Toby, in 2013. Bixby was moved to a zoo in the Midwest in 2015 with other female Harbor Seals, and Toby is slated to move to an aquarium in the southeast in May. Troy, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s only male Harbor Seal, is the father of all three pups and has lived at the Aquarium since 2007.

“Shelby has had a normal, healthy pregnancy, and with her success at giving birth to two pups here at the Aquarium in recent years, we were cautiously optimistic about the arrival of her third pup. It is particularly special to the Aquarium that one of our charter animals has given birth to the next generation, in the year of our twentieth anniversary,” said Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium Curator of Mammals and Birds.

Shelby and her female pup are currently in the holding area next to the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat at the Aquarium. The shades will at times be open and closed periodically to allow for privacy for the mother and pup to bond.

2_IMG_3497Shelby&Pup

3_Pupnursing1

4_Shelby & pup 4.20.2018

Photo Credits: Aquarium of the Pacific

New mom, Shelby, is a Pacific Harbor Seal. Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) can be found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, from the southern coast of Alaska to the northern portion of Baja, Mexico.

Their color and markings are unique to each seal, like a human’s fingerprints. Some have light-colored fur of almost white to silver or gray with darker circular or ring marks. Others have darker fur with light-colored markings. They range in size from 4 to 6.6 feet long and weigh between 110 to 375 pounds (males tend to be larger than females).

They may spend up to 85 percent of the day diving for prey, primarily schooling and bottom-dwelling fishes such as herring, surfperch, rockfish, salmon, and hake. They are also partial to some invertebrates, including crustaceans, and they get the water they need from their food. They can live about twenty-five to thirty years in the wild and longer under human care. Harbor Seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. While the species is not currently listed as endangered or threatened, Harbor Seals are sensitive to human encroachment.

Continue reading "Seal Welcomes Third Pup at Aquarium of the Pacific" »


Mystic Aquarium Releases Rescued Harbor Seal Pups

Mystic Aquarium Harbor Seal Release Lavendar Blue Bell 1

From the shores of Rhode Island to North Carolina and Alaska, Mystic Aquarium, in Mystic, Connecticut, works to care for marine animals in need.

On the morning of October 5, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program staff and volunteers released two Harbor Seal pups, Lavender and Bluebell, at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, RI.

Both pups were abandoned, shortly after birth, and were rescued by Marine Mammals of Maine. Lavender, a female Harbor Seal, was rescued in Waldoboro, ME and was transferred to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation on May 18. Bluebell, a male Harbor Seal, was rescued in Scarborough, ME and arrived at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic on August 3.

Following months of rehabilitation, the dynamic duo, at approximately 4–5 months old, were deemed healthy and prepared for their release into the wild and a life at sea.

Mystic Aquarium Harbor Seal Release Lavendar Blue Bell 2

Mystic Aquarium Harbor Seal Release Lavendar Blue Bell Group Shot 3Photo & Video Credits: Mystic Aquarium (Images 1-3: Release day for Lavendar and Blue Bell on Oct 5 / Video: Release day for four seal pups on Oct 20)

Just three-weeks-later, on October 20, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program released four more Harbor Seal pups. The four Harbor Seals (Flax, Larkspur, Sunflower and Buttercup) were rescued by Marine Mammals of Maine before being transferred to Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic.

Flax was rescued from Bustin’s Island, Freeport, ME, and was considered abandoned shortly after birth, arriving at Mystic Aquarium on May 28. Larkspur was rescued in Harpswell, ME, and Sunflower was rescued from Isle of Springs, ME. Both pups were also considered abandoned shortly after birth and arrived at Mystic Aquarium on June 1. Buttercup was rescued in Little Diamond Island, Portland, ME, and was found malnourished and suffering from pneumonia, arriving at Mystic Aquarium on July 15.

Following months of rehabilitation, the four pups, now approximately 4–5 months old, were deemed healthy and prepared for life at sea.

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need and educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants. The public is encouraged to call the Aquarium’s 24-hour hotline at 860.572.5955 ext. 107 if they encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in Conn., R.I. or Fishers Island, N.Y. Mystic Aquarium is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network. This network in comprised of organizations along the eastern seacoast, which have facilities and trained staff to care for sick and injured animals. Marine Mammals are protected species, so only groups and facilities authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service are permitted to handle these animals.