A young, injured grey seal settles into Seal and Sea Lion pool.
Rescued grey seal, Ziggy, is now swimming with the seals and sea lions. Photo by Natalie Sommer/ABQ BioPark.
Released: Oct. 5, 2012
Rescued grey seal, Ziggy, is now swimming in the ABQ BioPark's 350,000-gallon Seal and Sea Lion Pool. Ziggy arrived at the Zoo at the end of August, and he has been in quarantine bonding with keepers and meeting the other animals through fencing.
"Ziggy was hesitant to move into the main pool at first, but he's quickly adjusting to his new home," said Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager. "We're happy to see him exploring the exhibit. He's a very curious seal and likes to peer at guests as he swims by."
Zoo guests can recognize Ziggy by the way he swims. Generally, grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) sweep their hind flippers back and forth as they swim. Ziggy uses only his front flippers to propel himself through the water, because his hind flippers are partially paralyzed. This injury left him stranded on a New Jersey beach last March. Animal care experts rehabilitated him, but his limited mobility prohibited release back into the wild.
At 7-9 months old and more than 100 pounds, Ziggy is a very smart seal. Zookeepers use a bright pink Frisbee to call Ziggy for feeding times and check-ups. Ziggy excitedly touches his Frisbee and other "targets," or training objects presented by zookeepers. This type of training allows keepers to monitor the animal's health and administer medications if necessary.
BioPark guests can watch Ziggy interact with zookeepers everyday at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during the Seal and Sea Lion Feeding. All the seals and sea lions gather for food and special care. The excitement can be heard throughout the Zoo as the animals bark and splash. The Seals and Sea Lions exhibit and feedings are included with regular admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).