Updated Tuesday. Learn more at the end.
The only thing better than a new seal born at the Aquarium of the Pacific? Watching the two-day-old pup make her maiden voyage -- with a little push, er, help, from Mom.
The newborn has not been named yet but Mama seal Shelby is a fixture of the Aquarium of the Pacific, arriving to the downtown Long Beach facility prior to its June 1998 opening.
Back then, Shelby was 2, still shy of typical reproductive age that begins from 4 or 5 years old, the Aquarium's mammal curator explained. But on Thursday, at age 16, Shelby birthed her first pup, a female of 20 pounds, the Aquarium tweeted at @AquariumPacific.
“Even though Shelby has given birth to her first pup at an older age and without prior experience raising young, she has been adjusting well to motherhood,” Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium of the Pacific curator of marine mammals and birds, said Friday afternoon.
As excited as the public response has been about the newborn seal, the Aquarium stressed that she will not be in public view until the mother-daughter bonding has been fostered.
Shelby, one of the Aquarium’s female harbor seals, is 16 years old and birthed a healthy 20-pounder. Not bad for, as they say, an older mom.
Because Shelby is mature yet inexperienced at rearing a pup, "Aquarium experts will be closely watching her parenting skills to ensure the pup receives proper nutrition as the two have time to bond,"Wigdahl explained via Aquarium spokeswoman Marilyn Padilla.
The newborn's father, Troy, arrived at the Aquarium in 2007.
May 1, 2012 updated story is here.
For more information call (562) 590-3109 or visit www.aquariumofpacific.org