Britain´s Oldest Captive Common Seal is a Dad Again

Britain´s oldest captive common seal Babyface (photo right) has surprised his keepers at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary by becoming a dad again at the ripe old age of 36...well over 80 in human terms.

Babyface had sired many pups at his former home Colchester Zoo, but when he moved to the Seal Sanctuary in 2010 his new carers assumed his breeding days were over.
Sija The veteran seal who lost an eye to infection several years ago, clearly hasn´t lost any of his charm with the ladies however.

And the surprise arrival of a healthy pup was also a fairytale outcome for nine-year-old mum Sija (photo left), who had to be hand-reared by her keepers after her mother died at a sanctuary in Belgium.
"We only realised that Sija was pregnant a couple of weeks ago," said animal care team leader Tamara Cooper.

"She hadn´t put on a great deal of weight, so we assumed the birth was still about a month away.

"I was shocked but delighted when I made my early morning rounds and found a beautiful newborn pup swimming around happily with her mum and dad," she added.
Sija with her pup>

Sija with her pup Staff cordoned off the common seal pup, also shared by older female Luna, and watched from a discreet distance until they were sure the new arrival was being fed.

"We all heaved a sigh of relief when she had her first feed at about 9pm that evening, and now she´s feeding regularly and getting stronger by the minute."
Now Tamara and her colleagues are waiting anxiously to find out whether the new resident is a boy or a girl.

"A girl would stay with us permanently, but if it´s a boy he will eventually need to move to another Sanctuary to avoid conflict with Babyface," she said.
Title Such concerns are a long way in the future however, and for now the team is looking forward to sharing their joy with thousands of Sanctuary visitors over the summer.

The pup will feed on her mother´s milk for another two to three weeks before being weaned onto fish.
Press Release issued by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Trevor Broome on 01326 221 361
Date: 1st July 2013