LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a boy! The Louisville Zoo's gray seal pup born a month ago is a boy, and the public will soon get a chance to suggest names.
In a release, the zoo says the pup was given a few weeks to be with first-time mom, Rona, and complete the weaning process. Now that the Animal Health Care Team has given the pup a medical exam, they discovered it's a boy and he's growing like crazy.
The pup's weight is now up to 146 pounds. The average newborn weight for a gray seal is about 30 pounds, which is right on schedule. The zoo says the gray seal nursing period is very short, and it's common for the pups to quadruple their weight. The zoo tried not to disrupt the bonding between Rona and her pup, so the staff watched from a distance. But they were ready to help, if needed, during the weaning.
Now, the zoo is planning for a "Help Us Name the Seal Pup" contest sponsored by T-Mobile with details to be announced soon.
Eight seal pups have been born at the Louisville Zoo including twin pups in 1979. Rona's pregnancy was part of a breeding plan coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.
Gray seals are found in temperate and subarctic coastal waters of the North Atlantic. This species has excellent underwater eyesight and hearing and can use its long whiskers to touch objects or check water movement. They can also sleep underwater for 30 minutes at a time. Gray seals primarily eat fish. At the zoo, squid is a treat.
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