The Seattle Aquarium’s new northern fur seal, Chewbacca has officially met his tank-mate Commander! Chewbacca, or Chewy for short, arrived at the Aquarium in February. He spent his first weeks in quarantine and becoming acclimated to his new home in our Northern Fur Seal exhibit while Commander was relocated to another exhibit in our marine mammal complex.
Early this week, Aquarium staff determined that Chewy was ready to meet Commander. Says Curator of Mammals and Birds Traci Belting, “After all the bustling crowds were gone and everything was calm and quiet, we voluntarily shifted Commander to the Northern Fur Seal exhibit, where he and Chewy immediately began to investigate each other.” She continues, “The introduction went as predicted, with a range of behaviors from loud vocals and aggressive postures to total calm grooming and nuzzling together in the water.”
Aquarium staff members will continue to monitor Chewy and Commander’s behavior during the lengthy socialization process as both males try to establish their dominance. Says Traci, “We expect that we'll continue to observe some very impressive interactions between the two males, which could include growls, wickers*, superficial bites, head bows and routine sparring while they get to know each other.”
*Hoping to hear a wicker for yourself, or just want to know what it is? Come to the Seattle Aquarium to see Chewy and Commander! In the meantime, click here to learn more about northern fur seals.