We are excited to learn from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that one of their harbor seals is pregnant and a second may possibly be expecting as well! Our harbor seal, Q, who is living at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as part of a breeding exchange, is the father.
Qilak’s (pronounced Kee-lak) impending pup delivery is confirmed by ultrasound.
Shila (pronounced Shi-lah) is thought to be pregnant, but she is reluctant to have a probe placed on her abdomen, and veterinarians have been unable to verify a pregnancy with ultrasound. Her weight and behavior are pointing towards pregnancy.
The pups are expected in June but a precise due date can’t be determined since harbor seals have a period of delayed implantation of the fertilized egg, which means gestation can range from 9 to 11 months.
In the wild, harbor seals generally have one pup per year.
Q, who is 14 years old, came to Tacoma from the Seattle Aquarium a year ago as part of a cooperative Species Survival Plan breeding program. Qilak, 9, and Shila, 8, were both born in the wild. They came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in 2009 from Alaska Sea Life Center. You can see them all in the facility’s Rocky Shores exhibit!