April 26, 2012
A female harbor seal pup was born at the Aquarium Thursday, April 26. The pup is currently in the Seals and Sea Lions Habitat with her parents. The pup was born to two of the Aquarium’s harbor seals, Shelby and Troy. Shelby came to the Aquarium in 1998. Troy, the Aquarium’s only male harbor seal, came to the Aquarium in 2007.
Most seals give birth to young starting at four to five years of age. Shelby is sixteen years old, and this is her first pup. The newborn seal weighs approximately 20 pounds.
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.
The pup appears to be healthy and behaving normally. 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.
“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.