Look at Leu!

Male Northern fur seals grow at an incredible rate, and our male Leu is no exception. He came to us in June of 2012 at approximately nine months of age and he weighed only 29 lbs. His tiny size was due to the fact that he was found stranded as a very young pup along the coast of California. If you have been following our Marine Mammal Trainers Blog, you may remember the videos we showed you of Leu as a baby. He was missing some patches of guard hair but even then he was such a good looking little guy. The video below shows his first introduction to our behind the scenes area. Look at how cute he is!

Video from June 2012

Since that video was taken, Leu has been growing in leaps and bounds. As a growing animal he takes lots of naps and his favorite places to sleep are in the turtle pool and on our tactile toy in our holding room. Here are some pictures taken over the past two years.

August 2013   
February 2014

Just last week at Leu weighed in at 106 lbs but, despite his growing body, he still loves to nap in his favorite toys. Check out the latest pictures we have taken, he barely fits!

November 2014

November 2014

For more updates on Leu and the rest of our marine mammals, keep checking in on our Marine Mammal Trainers Blog.


Learn more about Leu:


Pfflt! Silly sea lion

If you've ever wondered what a sea lion tongue looks like, Seirra here can show you! She often sticks her tongue out during quiet moments—and we happen to think it's just plain adorable.

Sierra the California sea lion, "Plllffffft!"

Quiet moments for this gal are few and far between, however. You'll usually find her romping with her fellow sea lion, Zoe, or carousing with the youngsters—Leu, Flaherty, Chiidax and Kit.

Zoe and Sierra are two peas in a pod. 

Sometimes the trainers engage the seals and sea lions with a little enrichment—something out of the ordinary that's fun to explore and play with. A plain old garden sprinkler works for this!

Sprinkler time

Sierra's athletic and acrobatic sides are often on full display during training sessions. Head out to the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center during your next visit to check on Sierra and the rest of the rambunctious crew of marine mammals. You never know what these fast and fascinating animals will be up to!

Learn more about the marine mammal training and play:


Halloween with Leu

On Thursday, the trainers provided pumpkins for the seals and sea lions to explore as a festive means of enrichment. Exploring new textures and shapes and smells is a fun activity that keeps these marine mammals healthy and happy. 

This is how the Leu the fur seal and Zoe the sea lion celebrated Halloween!

Leu, a rescued Northern fur seal

Leu dove right into the activity, snarfing small fish and squid from the jack-o-lantern

Leu even stuffed his whole head into the pumpkin,
and then tried to dribble the gourd into the water!

Zoe, California sea lion

Zoe did not enjoy playing with the pumpkins as much, until...

... the pumpkin splashed into the water. Then there were some curious pumpkin bobbers!

More fun with the marine mammals:


Frisbee Fun

You may not know that Leu the Northern fur seal LOVES to play catch (just like our sea lion ladies). It's a game he's been playing since he arrived 2012. I thought it would be fun to see if he could hone those tossing skills and play a friendly game of Frisbee with me.

In no time, he had a signature throw down! Even if it happens to fall, Leu will pick it up quickly and send it back to me. This has been in the works for just a few days —see how good he already is! He'll be ready for ultimate in no time...

Maybe Leu is dreaming of Frisbees



Let's go for a spin!

Earlier this year, we followed Chacoda into the water, thanks to his special ability to wear a GoPro harness. The harness fits around his front flippers and a critter cam sits snug on his back. Chuck (as he's affectionately known in these parts) and Paul worked together for some time so this handsome harbor seal could learn to wear the harness while swimming and diving around the exhibit.

Adjusting the camera: Above the water

This skill gives us a special opportunity to see what it's like to effortlessly navigate the habitat in this Front Plaza exhibit and even spring out of the water during a training session! Today's cool video shows us both sides of that story: the traditional above-water perspective of trainers in the exhibit and below the water from Chucky's point of view! Take a look.

Not only does this skill of Chacoda's provide a fun way to explore the exhibit underwater, learning new skills such as wearing a harness is a good way to keep this harbor seal active both mentally and physically. Trainers also teach seals behaviors that can help with their medical care, such as opening their mouths for tooth brushing or presenting a flipper so a vet can examine it or draw blood.

Adjusting the camera: Chacoda's perspective

The harbor seals cruising among the toys in their exhibit

Come by to see the harbor seals in their Front Plaza exhibit. You'll have new appreciation for the agility and abilities of these athletic harbor seals!

Check out these links to learn more about the harbors seals: