Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blind seal finds new home at Detroit Zoo

Blind seal finds new home at Detroit Zoo
JEREMY CARROLL
Published: January 6, 2010
ROYAL OAK - A blind seal that was rescued from a beach in Massachusetts earlier this year has moved into the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life. The 70-pound male seal, believed to be approximately 1 year old, was taken to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut after it was found in August. A medical exam revealed that the seal had congenital blindness and would likely not survive if returned to the ocean.

The Detroit Zoo announced the seal's arrival on Dec. 21.

"We're happy we can provide a home for this little guy who can't be returned to his natural habitat," said Scott Carter, the zoo's chief life sciences officer, in a statement. "The Arctic Ring of Life is a great place for seals and we think he'll do very well here." The Arctic Ring of Life is North America's largest polar bear and seal exhibit, according to the zoo. It encompasses more than four acres, including a 70-foot-long clear underwater tunnel that allows visitors to view the polar bears and seals swimming.

The new addition, named Pequot, is a harp seal, which is native to North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, according to the zoo. An adult male normally weighs approximately 300 pounds and can live 30 years in captivity. The harp seal is considered a threatened species due to commercial hunting and climate change, the zoo said.

The Detroit Zoo is the only zoo in the United States to care for harp seals.

Pequot, who gets his name from an American Indian tribe that originated in Connecticut, joins the zoo's only other harp seal, Mack, who was rescued from a beach in Maryland in 1997 after having been shot.

For more information on the Detroit Zoo, visit them online at www.detroitzoo. org or call (248) 541-5717.

Caption:Photo provided by the Detroit Zoo Pequot, a harp seal that was rescued on a beach in Massachusetts earlier this year, has taken up permanent residence at the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life.


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