Blind seal gives birth at a zoo in Illinois

A week-old grey seal pup and his mother, Georgie, at Brookfield Zoo. They are currently behind the scenes bonding.

Brookfield, Ill. — A blind seal at a zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, gave birth to her first pup earlier this month.

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Brookfield Zoo is happy to announce its newest addition -- a grey seal pup born on February 17,” Brookfield Zoo said in a news release.

The male pup was 35 pounds when he was born, WBBM reported.

11-year-old mother, Georgette, nicknamed Georgie, is a first-time mother. She arrived at the zoo in 2020. She was found stranded in Georgetown, Maine, near the Atlantic Ocean in 2013. The zoo said it learned that she was blind in her left eye and was “functionally blind” in her right eye. the National Marine Fisheries Service determined that she could not be released back into the wild due to vision.

“Even with her loss of vision, Georgie is being a very attentive mother to her pup,” said Mark Gonka, associate director of marine mammal care and conservation. “Grey seals have a keen sense of smell as well as a repertoire of vocalizations. Georgie is able to locate her pup by his distinct smell and call.”

The new pup’s name is Kiinaq, 23, according to WBBM. He was stranded in the wild as well and found to be unreleasable. He was only a few months old at the time.

He has been at the zoo since 2018 had has had three pups, the news outlet reported.

Georgie and the new pup will remain behind the scenes for around six months, according to WBBM, so that the pup can develop his swimming skills.

Since the pup was born, he has gained about 15 pounds. The zoo said that over the next few weeks, he can gain around 100 pounds due to nursing because the mother’s milk is “extremely rich in fat.”

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