Oregon Coast Aquarium Bids Farewell to Beloved Harbor Seal

July 26, 2013

Newport, Oregon— One of the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Harbor seals was discovered unresponsive when staff arrived at the marine mammal holding facility on Wednesday, July 17.

The seal was born at Point Defiance Zoo on July 15, 1979 and came to the Aquarium when it opened in 1992. At 34 years, the seal was exceptionally old for her species, which typically live less than 20 years in the wild.

“She was a smart old girl who could try you at times and will be missed greatly by staff,” said Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals at the Aquarium who worked with the seal for nearly two decades.

Lytwyn went on to describe her as a smart, independent seal that liked to keep things on her terms. The challenges of working with her also made her training successes extra rewarding, Lytwyn said.

The seal learned behaviors that helped the Aquarium’s mammalogists provide her the best possible care, like waiting patiently while her nails were clipped and fun behaviors too, like blowing bubbles on cue. The seal’s bright white coat and bossy attitude made a splash with Aquarium staff and visitors alike.

Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium said, “She started to exhibit some abnormal behaviors such as lethargy and decreased appetite during the past few months. Veterinary and husbandry professionals monitored her health closely and made adjustments to their work schedules to keep her comfortable.”

The veterinarians that performed her necropsy attributed the pinniped’s death to the infirmities of old age.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so that the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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