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Louisville Zoo celebrates birth of gray seal pup

thumbnail_Rona first seal pup.jpg
Posted at 3:12 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 15:12:44-05

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Louisville Zoo’s 6-year-old gray seal Rona has given birth to her first pup, zoo officials announced Monday.

The zoo welcomed the pup at 7:25 a.m. The new pup and mom are doing well.

“The birth went very smoothly, with no complications,” said Associate Veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest. “We’re delighted to see that Rona’s maternal instincts appear to be strong. The pup is vocalizing normally, has nursed, and appears healthy.”

As Rona is a first-time mom, the zoo said it is taking precautions to prevent any disruption of the bonding period with her pup. Rona and pup will remain off exhibit for several weeks while the two bond.

The sex of the pup is currently unknown, but the zoo said details will be shared when the information is determined.

Seal pups weigh approximately 30 to 35 pounds at birth and are born with a soft white coat called lanugo. Weaning occurs after pups nurse for only four weeks, during which time they gain approximately 100 pounds by nursing on high-fat milk. By the time they are weaned, the lanugo is molted, and the pups assume adult coloration. Seal pups are not agile swimmers until they have molted.

Guests can follow the journey with weekly Seal “Pup-dates” on Saturdays on the zoo’s website and Facebook.