Last week we were notified by the animal care staff of the New England Aquarium that male northern fur seal Isaac, formerly of the Seattle Aquarium, had passed away. His health had been declining for several weeks. Isaac was 14 years old; the average longevity of male fur seals in the wild is early to mid-teens.
Isaac’s passing marks the end of an era at the Seattle Aquarium. In 1983, our facility became the first in the world to have a northern fur seal conceived and born in human care. A total of five fur seals born here lived to adulthood—Isaac was the final of these, born in 2000. He had been living at the New England Aquarium since 2009, as part of a collaborative breeding loan. While there, he sired two pups: Flaherty, a male born in 2012; and Kitovi, a female born in 2013.
Isaac’s passing brings the total population of northern fur seals living in zoos in aquariums in the United States to 11. He will be missed.
Read our northern fur seal fact sheet for more information about these amazing animals.