The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, has announced its first birth of 2014: a Grey Seal pup that also happens to be the first of its species ever born at the zoo. The male pup was born on New Year’s Day around 7:00 a.m. He and his mother, ten-year-old Lily, will remain off exhibit for several weeks to allow them time to bond with one another.
The Grey seals, Halichoerus grypus (Carnivora - Phocidae), occur in temperate and subarctic waters of the North Atlantic ocean and in the Baltic Sea. The breeding season of the grey seal varies greatly, occurring anywhere from mid-December to October, depending upon the location of the population.
The lovely pups are born with white coats and suckle from their mother for about 2 to 3 weeks. The mother then leaves the pup. She will mate again before leaving the beach. After one week’s development, the foetus stops growing for about 100 days, after which it continues to develop and is born the following November. The deserted pup sheds its white coat. After a while, hunger drives it to make its way to the sea to look for its own food.
Had a lovely day at the local zoo today. It’s a small place that have more or less only Scandinavian species, so aside from the bears they’re out all year round. Above are some photos of their seals. The first 3 are a grey seal, the final one a harbour seal.