2012 animal highlights

Aniak's pup Sekiu - sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium

Just hours old, Aniak grooms her pup, Sekiu

Animal highlights of 2012 include the birth of our sea otter pup, Sekiu, on January 14 at about 5am. Otter Watch volunteers then began regular around-the-clock monitoring shifts for about four months, recording behaviors of the pup and her mom Aniak.

Barney and Siku - harbor seals at the Seattle Aquarium

In late April, we had a harbor seal exchange: Male Q was transferred to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, and female Siku replaced him in our harbor seal pool.  Shortly after being introduced, Barney and Siku showed the typical greeting behavior of harbor seals: blowing into each other’s nostrils.

In the first week of October, both harbor seals underwent another move. In preparation the construction of our new harbor seal exhibit, Barney and Siku were transferred to Point Defiance, where they will remain until their new home is completed. Come see them at the exhibit’s grand opening in June!

Ursula and the new pup - New England Aquarium

Ursula and Isaac’s the new pup – New England Aquarium

Success! On July 10 the first offspring of Northern fur seal Isaac, was born to Ursula at the New England Aquarium. In 2009, Father Isaac, born here at the Seattle Aquarium in 2000, was transferred to the New England Aquarium on a breeding loan in 2009.

baby cuttlefish at the Seattle Aquarium

Left image: arrows indicate developing young, Right image: adult cuttlefish

Babies galore: over 60 pygmy cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis, have been hatched this year from our original adults’ prolific matings. Surplus young are traded to other aquariums. Biologist Steven Yong

lionfish at the Seattle Aquarium

Top image: Pterois antennata – Spotfin lionfish, Bottom image: Pterois radiata – Clearfin lionfish

In February, two new juvenile lionfish joined the other denizens of the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit. Neither species is considered invasive, unlike the related adult Pterois volitans in a nearby exhibit.

giant Pacific octopuses at the Seattle Aquarium

In late June our two current giant Pacific octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini, joined us. On the left is our male, Rain (starting weight 29 pounds); on the right is female Squirt (her beginning weight was 12 pounds). Both have gained weight and are thriving on their diet of squid, herring and other fish, along with the occasional treat of Dungeness crab. Both were weighed in early December: Rain came in at 55 pounds and Squirt was at 35 pounds. Both animals are about 2-2.5 years old.

Many more exciting changes are in store for the Seattle Aquarium in 2013—check back often to see what’s new!

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