Just look at her now! One year ago she was a tiny, helpless seal pup being bottle fed every few hours – she even had to be taught how to swim.
Now, Living Coasts’ South American fur seal pup Gemini moves effortlessly in her sunlit pool. Although she is not fully-grown, she’s a healthy 20 kilos, is fully independent and can stand up for herself among the other seals.
Living Coasts spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “She is fully weaned and is hand fed sprats by the keepers. She has been mixed with the other seals but she’s now away from them in the small pool, as it’s the breeding season and we don’t want Karel – her dad – to be with her.”
Keeper Libor Mach, who formed a special bond with the pup when she was just days old, added: “She is really lively and playful – she still likes her toy penguin, as well as a football and a floating rubber dog toy. She loves it when I put on the hosepipe above the water so the jet causes bubbles in the pool – she loves to chase them underwater. She also likes to play with visitors at the big window.
“She still responds to me, which is nice and is definitely a good thing as it’s much easier for us when we need to move her around or weigh her. I have started training her – she will go on the scales, to her feeding station and can touch her flippers. These are basics, she has only just started.”
To mark her birthday, staff are creating an ice block with sprats inside and kelp seaweed wrapped around.
Grace gave birth early on the morning of Tuesday 3rd June. Gemini was the third seal pup to be born at Torquay’s coastal zoo. Living Coasts operations manager Clare Rugg said: “All of our seals have birthdays around now – Grace was 14 on 26th May, Tunanta will be 9 on the 7th June and father Karel will be 12 on 21st June.”
For more information go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk or ring 0844 474 3366.Follow