Bixby, the born at the Aquarium of the Pacific, was introduced to the press and public Tuesday, after four months of bonding with her mother. The spotty-faced harbor seal's debut in her new habitat was an easy splash into the pool.
After her at the Long Beach aquarium went viral back in April (Patch helped!), the newborn harbor seal went into bonding and nursing mode backstage, prepping for the day when she could join adult seals and meet the press--and the public.
Perhaps the only audience Bixby was noticing Tuesday, however, was the clutch of elder seals and sea lions mostly ten times her size, watching from their pool as she plopped out of a crate.
Their curious heads had popped above the water as Bixby’s crate was toted into the exhibit "beach."
“All of the animals that she is going to meet are curious to see who their newest member of the colony will be,” said Aquarium of the Pacific CEO Jerry Schubel.
As the carrier door opened, Bixby was at first a little reluctant to hobble out but with a little coaxing from aquarium staff, she glided into the pool, her mother watching close by. She can also be seen swimming with Dad Troy.
At the heavily attended media photo op Tuesday morning, the seal born to "older mom" Shelby, and Troy, has clearly thrived since her April 26, 2012 birth, aquarium officials said.
She's put on about 30 pounds in four months, now weighs 50 pounds and has proven to be "calm," said Robert Mortensen, Aquarium Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds. He said she gets along with her new elders.
“She is able to hold her own with the larger animals,” Mortensen said of Bixby, who is now in with sea lions more than 10 times her current weight.
“Seals tend to be a little more aloof than sea lions [are].… The seals tend to be a little more standoffish. I consider them dogs and cats… Seals are much more cat-like.”
Enjoy the photo gallery and check back here for any progress reports or updates at Patch.
To read about Bixby: the early years, click here for her .