Posted June 2021
Male harbor seal, Bosco, the newest member of the Zoo’s harbor seal family, will mark his first birthday June 3. Zookeepers share information on his progress as he reaches this exciting milestone.
He’s learned several new behaviors through his training sessions with keepers. Some of the behaviors he’s learned include: To come when called; to touch (also known as targeting) the keepers’ hands and a buoy; and to circle in both directions. He’s progressed to learn how to present his flippers and is becoming more comfortable with keepers touching all his body parts to participate in his own healthcare as needed. In early May, he weighed about 86 pounds. Keepers say he’s right on track for his age in both size and development.
He continues to be very comfortable around Cossette, the Zoo’s 5-year-old female seal, and dad, Ringo. He usually sleeps inside near Cossette at night.
When Bosco was younger, he preferred to eat his herring tail first, instead of the traditional way seals eat, with the head-first. (Keepers think maybe he didn’t realize he was against eating them head- first!)
Keepers began offering him smaller cut chunks of herring without a head or tail, and he was more receptive to the chunks, and in a few days, he’d take any cut piece of herring. He’s also eating his capelin head or tail first and improving his skill for catching fish tossed to him. He eats about 4.5 pounds of fish daily.
Overall, Bosco has settled into the group well. He’s a bit nervous with loud noises and getting comfortable near the crowds of his adoring Zoo fans. He’s friendly and swims to see his keepers when they pass the pool and is always eager for training sessions. Keepers say he can have a little bit of an attitude if he doesn’t want to display a behavior he’s being cued to do.
Be sure to see Bosco in the outdoor Seal habitat next time you visit the Zoo!