Fitness Friday: Putting Leu on Ice

There's no question that summer has definitely arrived. Temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s this weekend! Leu, our Northern fur seal pup, can always cool off in the pool during a romp with Sierra. But that's not his only trick to beat the heat. He loves a kiddie pool full of ice cubes, too!

Leu cools off in a pool of ice cubes. Photo: Boston.com

Not only do the ice cubes provide that desired cooling effect, the textures and crunch are a lot of fun! It's just another way to provide enrichment for this growing pup. Watch how he likes to grab an ice cube and take it into the water to play. You'll notice in the video that our more mature fur seals stay cool in the shallow end, grooming and lolling about in the water.

Take a cue from our fur seals and try to keep cool during the toasty weather expected this weekend. The City of Boston also recommends that people drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. While our fur seals don't need to drink fresh water—they get all the hydration they need from the fish they eat—drinking water is an important part of staying healthy in the heat.

There are plenty of ways to escape the heat right here at the New England Aquarium! For starters, take a seat at the shade of the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center and watch the antics of Leu and our frisky sea lions. Hope to see you!

Here are a couple other ways our seals and sea lions have been able to cool down:

Ursula laying out on a block of ice
Chacoda plays with an ice toy
And of course, icy birthday cakes like Trumpet, Cayenne and Chuck's, Baranov's and Roxie's


Fitness Friday: Keep cool while you work out

It's tough to work out on a 90-degree day. But if you have a nice big pool and an energetic friend, you can get plenty of exercise. Our new Northern fur seal pup, Leu, and Sierra the California sea lion show you how it's done. Watch them porpoise, tumble in the water, chase each other and generally have a great time.

Come to the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center to meet Leu and watch him frolic with his friends. And check out more of Leu's antics here, here and here.


Roxie is 22 Years Young

To continue along with the birthday theme of the summer, we just celebrated Roxie's 22nd birthday on Friday. She is the oldest of all of our fur seals and second oldest in the country. She lives here at the New England Aquarium with 5 other fur seals, including her daughter Ursula, as well as two California sea lions.

Of course we had to celebrate in fashion...with a fish cake, complete with 22 "capelin candles" around the edge!

To make this cake even more delicious we added in some jello, which many of the seals enjoy as part of enrichment or just as an added bonus in their meals—seals naturally get water from the fish they eat, but jello can give them additional hydration as well.

Roxie enjoyed her cake slightly differently than many other seals would. Instead of just diving right in and devouring all of the fish in less than a minute, she used her whiskers to feel around the tray and carefully pick out each individual fish. Now this technique wasn't just used randomly; Roxie actually relies on her whiskers very heavily throughout most parts of her day because she is blind. Her whiskers allow her to pick up additional information such as objects or animals in front of her, or in this case it helps her find the fish.

Check out this video to see how she uses those whiskers to enjoy her cake.

Happy birthday Roxie!!


What's new with Leu?

This is the first of a series of posts we want to share about our newest addition to the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center—Leu! This pip-squeak was rescued from a beach in California earlier this year. Since he could not have survived in the wild, he's found a new home with us. While he is getting settled behind the scenes, he continues to make progress or show us something new every day. We wanted to bring you in on the fun!

Like all little ones, and some cool grown ups, Leu loves to play. He tugs on the car wash strips hanging in the background and is initiating games of fetch with some of the toys in the picture. Can you guess what his favorite toys will be?

Leu and his toys

Leu is learning to take fish from his trainer's hand. Feeding this way helps us get a good look at him. Right now, he takes each fish to the water, eats it and pops back up on deck for another.

Kathy feeding Leu

Leu's a growing boy and learning every day. Stay tuned for more installments of What's New With Leu!


Baranov's Sweet 16

What's the best way for a Northern fur seal to celebrate his sweet 16?  An icey fish cake, of course!  Check out how happy Baranov looks as he devoures his delicious treat:

 The birthday boy!

 Delicious!  It didn't take long for him to chow down.

 He even shared with his sister, Cordova.

The birthday boy and what's left of the cake.
Too much cake.

We definitely love celebrating milestones with our seals--check out Lana's 30th birthday celebration!



Fitness Friday: Frisky Leu

Happy Fitness Friday, all! While our visitors get good looks at our adult Northern fur seals stretching and speed swimming in the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, the youngest member of the Aquarium's pinniped family is still getting big and strong behind the scenes. He'll be joining adult swim very soon. Until then, we thought you'd like to see him in action.

Leu is perfecting his porpoising skills in this clip. Notice how his stamina appears to have improved since we put this post!

Keep watching the Trainers Blog for our special new series of posts we're calling What's New with Leu. Just like human babies, this little guy is learning new skills every day and cultivating quite a charming personality. Stay tuned!


Fitness Friday: Socializing!

As we've mentioned in many a Fitness Friday post, exercise can come in many shapes and sizes. Leu the tiny fur seal pup gets some exercise playing with his trainers. And Isaac the hulking male fur seal does a little strength training with his front flipper stands.

Today we wanted to point out that our harbor seals and fur seals and sea lions can sometimes get their exercise interacting with the public through the glass! Here you see Cordova, one of our female fur seals leaning against the wall. It takes a lot of strength to hold themselves up there like that!

When the mood strikes them, those whacky sea lions do the same. These two especially like inspecting the colorful stuffed animals held by some of our younger visitors. Many visitors have also enjoyed playing follow the leader with our harbor seals while they bend and bob in their exhibit on the front plaza.

So the next time you visit, you might be lucky to get up close and personal (through the glass) with one of these amazing marine mammals. Take a moment to think about this nifty show of strength and agility in our marine mammals!


Fitness Friday: Playful Leu

By now you've probably heard about our new baby fur seal. He was rescued several months ago from a California beach, underweight, blind in one eye with a patchy coat of fur that couldn't keep him warm. After a fun and successful naming contest, this little guy was named Leu for the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, where Northern fur seals are found in the wild.

Leu has been charming and delighting the marine mammal trainers behind the scenes as he settles into life at the Aquarium. [Learn how the sea lions settled when they first at the Aquarium here.] He has been eating well and is getting stronger stronger every day. In fact, he's even found time to play! Play is a a great way to get your muscles moving and have fun in the process. Just look, little Leu is getting a really fun work out!

Leu is still behind the scenes for his routine quarantine period, but you'll be able to meet him and watch him play this summer. In the meantime, you can definitely watch our young California sea lions frisking about the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center. They love to play in a spray of water, juggle a soccer ball, slip and slide and practice new skills.