Remember a couple of weeks ago when we showed one of our Northern fur seals learning a few steps of a dance? Well, since then Roxie has added some more steps to her repertoire. And she's been sashaying all around the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, practicing her routine. Check out the video below to see how Roxie's dance is developing. Soon the trainers might decide she's ready for some music!
Marine Mammal Trainers
Leu, our rescued Northern fur seal, loves to zip around the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center playing with his friend Flaherty. But as you can see from the video below, young Leu has always been up for playing with whatever is handy.
Northern fur seals are natural athletes—lithe, graceful and flexible—so they have an advantage when they're learning a dance routine. But the fur seals need to learn movements step by step, just like dancers do. Whenever the trainers teach the seals or sea lions a new behavior, they don't ask for the entire behavior all at once. They work with the animal on a small segment of the behavior, reinforcing each correct move with fish, until the seal is comfortable with the movement, then they add another segment. In this video, a trainer is teaching Roxie a series of movements that will eventually be part of a dance sequence with music!
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We train the Aquarium's Atlantic harbor seals and Northern fur seals for enrichment and to build a trusting relationship that allows for regular medical checkups. Read our posts to learn about what's new with the animals and how we train behaviors.
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