Did you know a mature male northern fur seal can weigh over 600 pounds? That’s a lot larger than Flaherty and Leu, the two fur seals who joined the Seattle Aquarium last March. They’re still young and growing, though: Flaherty is three years old and currently weighs in at approximately 90 pounds; Leu is four years old and tips the scales at around 120 pounds.
Last Saturday, April 13, Sharon Melin, wildlife biologist at NOAA’s National Marine Mammal laboratory, came to the Aquarium and shared her experience with wild northern fur seals. Working with biologist Julie Carpenter and our male northern fur seal Commander, she demonstrated how satellite tags are placed on adult fur seals to track their ranges (see photo).
Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are members of the true seal group. They comprise a generally inquisitive, but elusive, species which spends equal time on land and in the sea. These seals are not limited to salt water and have been found in inland waterways and lakes. In the order Pinnipedia (modified limbs to flippers) and family Phocidae.
Wait, “shiver me seals?” What’s that supposed to mean? We’ve had some questions from visitors lately about our northern fur seals “shivering.” Rest assured, it is not because they are cold…the Bering Sea, where northern fur seals live in the wild, is a much chillier place than Seattle!