Commander In Command

If you think Commander looks big in pictures, you should see him in real life! Plan a visit to the Aquarium to meet our newest fur seal. Save time and buy your tickets online.

As many of our visitors have already seen, our newest Northern fur seal is taking command of the marine mammal center! Commander arrived from the Seattle Aquarium via FedEx back in February. He underwent a routine quarantine behind the scenes, and he's since been slowly introduced to the animals—and visitors—in the exhibit over the past couple weeks.

Big, handsome fella

Commander is a nearly-400-pound male Northern fur seal named for some fur seal breeding islands in the Bering Sea. He comes to the Aquarium as part of a breeding program. With only nine individuals of this species in North American zoos and aquarium, this mature adult will hopefully hit it off with Ursula (who has already had two pups—Flaherty and Kitovi) and grow the genetic diversity of this population with more pups.

Commander with one of his trainers, Lindsay

Commander's trainers say he is very smart and attentive as they work with him to build new relationships and routines in his new home. He's also learning new skills that will help with his husbandry.

Take a bow! We'd like a closer look at that flipper, please.
Hand signals: Open wide! Time to check those teeth.

Commander is the only mature male in the exhibit. He eats around 36 pounds of food every day—that's around 15,000 calories—and his appetite is huge right now. He'll put on more weight by this summer. He is easy to spot since males are markedly bigger than females, out-weighing them by several hundred pounds. The females—Roxie, Ursula and young Kitovi—mostly stay out of his way, as they would in the wild. Young Chiidax also keeps his distance. While little Chi is male, he has a long time to go until he's considered an adult. The sea lions—Zoe and Sierra—are a little more feisty and they engage the big man now and then. 

Commander and fish
These social interactions—or avoidances— are all part of establishing a new dynamic in the exhibit and are considered perfectly normal. In fact, it's fascinating to see these relationships develop. Come see! Plan a visit and get to know our big, handsome new arrival.


Let's all go to the movies!

You may have seen the rash of #PrattKeeping images being splashed across the internet this week.

A casual search for #Prattkeeping will turn up all sorts of trainers interacting with animals

It's an internet meme with trainers interacting with the animals in their care to resemble a scene from Jurassic World. In the scene, Chris Pratt is working with his velocoraptors. We've been loving the reenactments with walruses, ostriches, giraffes, tortoises, chickens and everything in between.

Here's the scene from Jurassic World that's proven to be quite the inspiration.
Chris Pratt plays a velocraptor trainer in the new movie. (Can you imagine?!)

Well, our marine mammals are always up for some fun, so of course they wanted in on the act!

Erin with Sierra and Zoe, our California sea lions, and Commander, our big handsome fur seal

Patty with Kit and Chidaxx, our youngest Northern fur seals

Lindsay with Lana, Chuck and Reggae the Atlantic harbor seals

We always knew our seals and sea lions had a little Hollywood in them! Enjoy, hope you have a great weekend. Come by and say hello to our talented group of marine mammals (and trainers!) sometime.


Reggae is the birthday boy

This past weekend we celebrated the birthday of Reggae, the dashing Atlantic harbor seal!

On May 30, Reggae turned 22. While that may sound old, his mom lived to be 40 years old! Reggae's middle-age milestone was celebrated with special attention from the trainers, including some smooches from Lindsay.

Happy birthday, Reggae!
The next time you're visiting the Aquarium, or even just passing by on the Harborwalk, be sure to stop and check out the birthday boy. In fact, all the harbor seals have birthdays around this time—even more reason to visit and wave hello to these fascinating and fabulous marine animals!

Want to get even closer to the seals? Check out our Meet and Greet the Harbor Seals or Paint With the Seals programs!