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Meet Finsbay!

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

Louisville Zoo Reveals Name of Gray Seal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 25, 2021) – Louisville Zoo guests have spoken with their votes and have chosen “Finsbay” (Fins-bee) as the winner of the “Help Us Name the Seal Pup” vote sponsored by T-Mobile.

Zoo keepers at Glacier Run put forth three names for the male gray seal pup born in December — Finsbay, Oban and NOAA. The winning name was presented by Tracy Unger, a zoo keeper at the Louisville Zoo for ten years.  “It made sense to choose something meaningful to the species and this town is known for harbor and gray seals,” said Unger. “I am so excited that it won! Thank You for your votes! Now, we can call him by his name as we begin his training.”

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.

About the name “Finsbay  (Fins-bee)”

Glacier Run keeper Tracy Unger put forth this name and based her recommendation on the fact that the natural habitat for gray seals includes the coasts of the Northern Atlantic Ocean including Scotland. Off the western coast of Scotland is a group of islands called the Outer Hebrides and Finsbay is a town in that group of islands. Finsbay is known for its trout, arctic char, sea trout, and salmon fishing which makes it a logical stopping point for harbor and gray seals.  The seals can be seen basking there any time of the year and return to land to molt near Finsbay in February through April. Finsbay is located south of the island of Rona, which is the origin of our seal Rona’s name.

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.


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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