Featured Image Credit: Screenshot from Brookfield Zoo Video
The day after Christmas in 2017, a male gray seal pup was born at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. The pup, who was recently given the name Scooter, weighed in at 36 pounds at birth and is quickly growing and putting on weight as he nurses from mom, Lily. Last month he already weighed 100 pounds!
In the wild, pups have to gain a lot of weight fast because they are weaned at three weeks and must be ready to go hunt and fend for themselves.
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When he was born the gray seal pup had fluffy white fur known as lanugo, which is molted in two to four weeks. He will then have a shorter, stiffer coat like his parents. The public won’t get to see Scooter with his white coat because he won’t be out at Pinniped Point until after he molts.
This pup’s birth is important for the gray seal population in North American institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are currently only 25 gray seals in 10 institutions. Gray seal numbers are not threatened in the wild but the animals in institutions help with research to help populations in the wild.