photo - full face pic of seal pup, laying down, looking straight at camera, has beautiful soulful eyes

It’s a BOY!

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
502-238-5331 (Media Cell 502-744-5639)

Louisville Zoo Announces Seal Pup Sex

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 28, 2021) – The Louisville Zoo is happy to announce that the gray seal pup — the Zoo’s newest addition — is a boy! And, he’s weaned. After a month of allowing first-time mom Rona to bond with her new pup and complete the weaning process, the Animal Health Care team was able to perform an exam to check the health of the pup and sex him. His weight was recorded as 146 lbs. The average newborn weight for a gray seal pup is 30 lbs.

The gray seal nursing period is the shortest among land-breeding phocids. It is common for gray seals to quadruple their weight during this nursing period. The Zoo took taking precautions to prevent any disruption during that bonding period. Animal Health staff monitored the pup and mom and were poised to go in if needed during the weaning.

An opportunity to “Help Us Name the Seal Pup” sponsored by T-Mobile will be announced soon.

The seal pregnancy was a planned part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for gray seals. Breeding plans work to maintain the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.

The Louisville Zoo has a history with this species. Eight seal pups have been born at the Zoo, and when twin seal pups were born in 1979, they were the first twins to be documented in a managed system like a Zoo.

Guests can also follow the pup’s journey by watching the Zoo’s Saturday Seal “Pup-dates” sponsored by T-Mobile on the Zoo’s website and social media channels.


Gray seals are found in temperate and subarctic coastal waters of the North Atlantic. This species can be distinguished from harbor seals by their long noses, wider set nostrils, and size, which is approximately twice as large as harbor seals. Gray seals primarily eat fish. At the Zoo, squid is a treat. Seals have good senses to help them hunt. Their underwater eyesight and hearing are excellent. They can use their long whiskers, or vibrissae, to touch objects or perceive and analyze water movements. Gray seals can sleep underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time.

About the Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo, a nonprofit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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