Albuquerque is new home for injured seal.
August 22, 2012
Albuquerque is the new home of a rescued grey seal, found stranded in March at a beach in Longport, New Jersey. The unreleaseable male has partial paralysis in his hind flippers, but animal care experts expect him to do well in the ABQ BioPark Zoo's 350,000-gallon exhibit with the other seals and sea lions.
The seal had a wound on his head and limited mobility in his hind flippers. He was rescued and rehabilitated by experts at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ. The seal is flying via FedEx across country, accompanied by Zoo Manager Lynn Tupa and Head Veterinarian Dr. Ralph Zimmerman. They arrive at the Sunport this evening, then head to the Zoo, where the seal will live in a quarantine area behind the scenes for about a month.
"We will have time during quarantine for the seal to connect with keepers and meet the other seals and sea lions through fencing," said Tupa. "He has already started the training we use to do twice daily check-ups on all of our seals and sea lions. When he moves into the big exhibit, he will know to come to the keeper holding the bright pink Frisbee for fish."
Animal care staff estimate the seal is between 6-8 months old; he weighs approximately one hundred pounds. He swims using his front flippers primarily, which is unusual for seals. They usually propel themselves by sweeping their hind flippers back and forth. Zoo staff expect him to adapt well to the large exhibit. The grey seal joins another grey seal, several harbor seals, and several sea lions.
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.
Additional photos are available on www.flickr.com/abqbiopark.
Here's a video of the arrival of the new grey seal:
September 6: Facebook fans selected the name "Ziggy" for the new seal.
October 5: Ziggy is now swimming in the big pool with the other seals and sea lions!