#23: Baranov

Big Man on Campus

Baranov, an 11 year old, 500-pound male northern fur seal, arrived at New England Aquarium on June 23, 2008. He's up from the Mystic Aquarium & Institute For Exploration (MAIFE) in Connecticut to spend the summer with us in Boston. How do you move a 500 pound fur seal? Insert your favorite cliche here ... very carefully ... any way he wants ... yada, yada, yada.

At 3:30 a.m., Baranov casually followed his trainer Sarah into his transport carrier. The carrier is a 5' x 7' x 5' aluminum structure with rails spaced close enough to safely contain him, but far enough apart that he can observe his surroundings. Bags of ice were placed on top of the carrier to keep him comfortable and he was carefully lifted via forklift into a large truck. Once inside, the carrier was belted in to give Baranov a nice, steady ride. Accompanying Baranov were two of his familiar trainers and his veterinarian. Seals can stay out of water for days if they remain cool. The truck had a powerful air conditioning unit to ensure the comfort of everyone. Well, perhaps Baranov was more comfortable. The humans emerged shivering, but smiling after the two hour ride.

The carrier was lifted from the truck and positioned next to an open door of the exhibit. Sarah led Baranov from the carrier into his summer home. He was a little tentative at first, but once he realized water was close by, out he went.

Baranov following Sarah's target
then checking out his new home.

The females, Chainsaw, Cordova and Ursula backed away a bit as the 500 pound blob (always a term of endearment when referring to seals) entered the water.

It took a short time for the girls to get nose to nose with Baranov. Sniffing and touching noses is the customary greeting among many species of seals. Since all four seals know each other from their time at MAIFE, the introduction was quick and easy.

Baranov was comfortable enough to eat within 15 minutes of entering the exhibit. Sarah stayed with us for four days to help with a smooth adjustment to his interim trainers. Baranov has indeed settled in as you can see below. It didn't take long for him to take his spot as king of the hill.

Hope to see you soon!



  1. Sounds like a really smooth transition!

  2. Will the girls act different with a boy around?

  3. Well done! Very descriptive.....


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