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Grey Seal Passes Away at Zoo

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Keepers were sad to say goodbye to partially-paralyzed seal.

Grey Seal Passes Away at Zoo

Ziggy the grey seal. Photo by Lynn Tupa/ABQ BioPark.

August 26, 2013

‘Ziggy’ the grey seal passed away at the ABQ BioPark Zoo on Wednesday, Aug. 21 due to complications from pneumonia and infection. Zookeepers were sad to lose the seal that had called Albuquerque home for about a year after being rescued from a New Jersey beach and rehabilitated. He had partial paralysis in his hind flippers and moved through the pool with unmistakable front-flipper form.

“Despite his paralysis, Ziggy had been doing well here. He would steal fish from the other animals, even Tommy the dominant male sea lion!” said Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager. “His wild ways sometimes challenged the keepers when it came to training, but we all admired his spunk and will miss him.”

Zookeepers had been treating the seal with antibiotics for an injured flipper. After a week of treatment, they moved him to a back area for closer observation since his health was declining. Sadly, he passed away on Wednesday. Veterinarians found evidence of both pneumonia and systemic infection; they sent tissue samples to the state laboratory to learn more.

Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are found in the temperate waters of the North Atlantic.  They often live in remote areas with rough seas and strong currents, coming to land only during breeding season. Grey seals can dive to depths of more than 200 feet and remain submerged for up to 20 minutes.  

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