June 13, 2012
The harbor seal pup born at the Aquarium of the Pacific in April has nearly doubled in weight and has begun transitioning to solid foods.
“She is just under 50 pounds and at about six weeks old, the weight gain is natural and healthy,” said Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams. The rapid weight gain is important for the pup because it creates a blubber layer for warmth in cold waters. She will continue to grow until she reaches the size of her mother, who is about 200 pounds.
Over the next few weeks the pup will be offered fish, Dr. Adams said. This transition is important because it will allow the seal pup to become less dependent on her mother for food. In the wild, pups stay with their mothers for about four to six weeks. They are able to adapt quickly because they are quick learners and can swim from birth.
Transitioning to fish will also help trainers teach the young pup some basic commands. These help create a safe environment when humans and the animals interact and will be useful when the pup is introduced into the public exhibit.