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Harbor Seal Pup Born at the Zoo

Harbor seal pup
Mom Cossette nuzzles with the pup.

Posted June 2022

The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce a harbor seal birth in the early morning hours of May 24.

The female seal pup was born to mother, Cossette, and father, Ringo. This marks the first pup for Cossette, and keepers report she is doing great, bonding with the pup and nursing it. This is the sixth pup for Ringo, who is about 44 years old, and was born in the wild. Cossette is 7 years old, arriving here in 2016 from Anchorage, Alaska. Keepers say she has a very calm, cooperative and easygoing manner.

Harbor seal pup
The pup stays close to mom as they both spend time swimming.

The pup was born on land and was swimming after 30 minutes. Shortly after the pup was born, keepers separated 2-year-old male, Bosco, to give the pup time to bond with mom and learn how to nurse. In the beginning, Bosco was very curious and wanted to follow mom and the pup closely in the water. At times, his curiosity interrupted the pup trying to nurse.

Within 4 to 6 weeks, the pup will be weaned and taught to eat fish, which will be hand-fed by keepers.

Harbor seal pup
The new pup takes a break from swimming.

In the wild, harbor seals live along the temperate and Arctic marine coastline of the Northern Hemisphere and have the widest distribution of any seal species. They can dive to depths of 500 feet, but depths of up to 1,460 have been recorded, remaining submerged for up to 30 minutes at a time.

The pup is in the outdoor habitat most of the time, however the pup and mother do have the choice to go off exhibit at any time.