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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
A young grey seal, estimated to be 2 years old, is now on exhibit at the Toledo Zoo's Arctic Encounter.
The juvenile male arrived at the zoo through the National Marine Fisheries Service, after being caught wild off the East Coast and transferred to a "stranding center." Although many of the animals at stranding centers are rehabilitated and subsequently released, this seal was not able to be released. He was habituated to humans and had been taking fish off fishing lines, which could have put him at risk as he matured.
Since his arrival, the zoo's skilled animal care, enrichment and veterinary teams have helped him settle in to his new home, where he is making steady progress and seems curious about people and his surroundings.
In the wild, grey seals live in the North Atlantic Ocean, predominantly around North America and Europe. Males can grow to more than 600 pounds and measure 10 feet or longer; females are smaller. Currently, wild grey seal populations are stable.
Visitors can see the new arrival at the Toledo Zoo's Arctic Encounter, combining comfortable indoor viewing with a naturalistic saltwater environment for both seals and polar bears. More than 10 million people have visited this exhibit since it opened in 2000, and other zoos across the nation have tried to duplicate its features. In addition to grey seals and harbor seals, the zoo's Arctic Encounter is home to five polar bears, including two polar bear cubs that went on exhibit earlier this year.