On Thursday, April 26th, male harbor seal "Q" was transported to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA), joining four female harbor seals. Later that afternoon, Barney met a new friend, 7 year old female "Siku" (pronounced see-koo) from PDZA.
The introductions at both ends were very successful with lots of initial greetings. Shortly after the introduction in our harbor seal pool, Biologist Sara Perry was able to capture an image of Barney and Siku blowing into each others' noses. This was followed by a group swim-around, and then by the usual calm solitary swimming and resting that harbor seals are known for. This animal exchange was recommended as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Harbor Seal Species Survival Plan (SSP).
We are hopeful that breeding takes place both here and at PDZA. Harbor seal breeding season usually occurs anytime between Spring and Fall so we (or rather the seals) might get lucky this year, although a period of acclimation may result in no breeding until next year. We will just have to wait and see!
Come visit Siku at the Aquarium today!