Where are you from, anyway?
Commander was born at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut; he came to the Seattle Aquarium as part of a breeding collaboration described below. Leu was found stranded on a beach in California. Blind in one eye, he was raised at the New England Aquarium until early 2015, when he joined the Seattle Aquarium. Flaherty was born at the New England Aquarium and spent his early years there until he joined the Seattle Aquarium in early 2015. His father was Isaac, who was the last fur seal born at the Seattle Aquarium.
Big guys, little gals:
Male northern fur seals are up to six times larger than females – that’s called sexual dimorphism, and it’s the largest size difference of any marine mammal species.
More about those really big guys.
Male northern fur seals average between 350 and 600 pounds; females average 95-110 lbs. Males bulk up on food all winter long in preparation for their return to the breeding grounds, where they will spend up to four months on land competing with other males for the opportunity to breed with as many females as possible. Only 10% of males ever get a chance to breed!
Increasing the head count
In 2009, with the hope of increasing the captive population of northern fur seals, the Seattle Aquarium collaborated with the New York Aquarium and the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to move the animals with the highest breeding potential to the New England Aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium received Commander and sent Isaac, a male who was 10 years old at that time. Isaac was soon seen breeding and fathered a male pup in 2012 and a female pup in 2013!