FAIRFIELD — A seal born Saturday at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has already delighted guests at the park’s Seal Cove exhibit, staff reports.
The 20-pound black, gray and white spotted seal pup was the first pup born at the park in eight years, according to a park press release. Named Lily in honor of the Easter holiday, the Pacific harbor seal was born to 9-year-old Maile, a first-time mother, and 10-year-old Dyson.
“We expected the birth to happen any time over the past few weeks,” said Michael Muraco, animal care director, in the press release. “Seal births are particularly unique in that the pup starts swimming within a few minutes after birth. Within a few hours, they’re already exploring.
“Maile is proving to be a great mom with strong maternal instincts,” Muraco said.
The Seal Cove exhibit was closed to the public Saturday and reopened Easter Sunday when guests were able to see the newborn swim, sleep and nurse.
Pups double their weight within the first four to six weeks while nursing on their mother’s milk, which is about 45 percent fat, and then are weaned. In the wild, a mother will leave its pup after the first month to finish growing and fend for itself.
Also known as true seals, Pacific harbor seals are pinnipeds and differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having shorter, stouter flippers and no visible ear flaps. When swimming, they use their hind flippers to propel through the water.
Though not endangered, harbor seal colonies in the San Francisco Bay Area are vulnerable to human disturbance, climate change and human-produced pollutants, according to Six Flags.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.