Meet our seals

  • 21 June 2012 | Paul Zammit

Daisy

Daisy

Sex: Female

History: Daisy was housed at another facility for a few years before being relocated to uShaka Sea World in 2007.

Character: Daisy is a calm, inquisitive and gentle seal.

Activities: She enjoys being sprayed with water and is possessive over enrichment devices, especially those that contain food.

Fact: South African fur seals are also known as “eared” seals. They have external ears about 6cm long that are rolled up. Their hearing is equally good on land and in water.

 

Dosy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dosy

Sex: Female

History: Dosy slept a lot as a pup, hence her "sleepy" name. Dosy was housed at another facility for a few years until she relocated to uShaka Sea World in 2007.

Character: Dosy is a dominant, vocal seal and a quick learner.

Activities: She enjoys being sprayed with water.

Fact: All seals’ eyes are particularly adapted to function in the water. Their acuity in the water is said to be as great as that of a cat. Blind seals are not uncommon.

 

Gimli

 

 

 

 

Gimli

Sex: Female

History: Gimli was named after a character in Lord of the Rings, but is fondly known as “Weasel”. She was born at uShaka Sea World to parents Siggi and Benji on 21 November 1986. Gimli has the longest whiskers of all the seals at uShaka Sea World.

Character: She is proud and confident.

Activities: She enjoys being massaged by water hoses and swimming over divers’ bubbles.

Fact: Seal whiskers grow to 8-9cm in length, but can reach lengths of up to 48cm. Whiskers are tactile structures, well supplied with muscles and nerves. Seals use their whiskers to sense vibrations made in the water up to two metres away. Whiskers are also used to show emotion. They are brought forward for investigation of the environment or a neighbour, or used together with eye movement and the mouth as a sign of submission or threat.

Gimli celebrates her birthday on 22 November. Scroll down to read more about her 25th birthday!

 

Hlabathi

Hlabathi

Sex: Female

History: Hlabathi means “earth” or “sand” in Zulu, named after one of the elements where she was found on the West Coast of South Africa. She was rescued from Kleinseë on 24 July 1998 when fish stocks reached an all-time low. She weighed 8kg on arrival at uShaka Sea World and now weighs over 50kg.

Character: She has a dynamic nature and is very energetic.

Activities: She enjoys playing at the large acrylic windows in the exhibits, often chasing soap bubbles as they run down the windows. She has also been seen amusing herself by inventing her own games at the windows.

Fact: Nostrils are found at the end of a seal's snout. The nostrils have muscles and when relaxed, the nose is automatically sealed shut. Breathing stops when the seal is underwater. Certain seal species can hold their breath for up to an hour.

 

Hobi

Hobi

Sex: Male

History: Hobi was named after a beach in Port Elizabeth where he was found as an eight-month-old pup. When rescued he was suffering with a tooth abscess.

Character: He has a gentle yet adventurous nature.

Activities: He enjoys playing with water hoses (he tucks the hose under his flipper and aims the water into his mouth); exploring his environment and sparring with the other seals.

Fact: South African fur seal pups are born with milk teeth. Pups suckle milk from their mothers up to five months when they start to supplement their milk diet with small fish and crustaceans. All teeth are sharp and used for grasping, ripping and tearing. Seals do not have molars for chewing. The age of seals can be determined by dentine rings on their teeth which grow in layers.

 

Illanga

Illanga

Sex: Female

History: Illanga means “sun” in Zulu, named after one of the elements where she was found on the West Coast of South Africa. She was rescued from Kleinseë on 24 July 1998 when fish stocks were almost depleted. She weighed 8kg on arrival at uShaka Sea World and now weighs more than 60kg.

Character: She is fearless and confident, learns quickly, is creative and appears to have a sense of humour.

Activities: She enjoys playing with water hoses and is often seen holding the hose for other seals. She also enjoys chasing birds and resident cats, and splashing unsuspecting trainers with water.

Fact: Seals obtain all the fresh water they need from the fish they eat.

 

Jabu

Jabu

Sex: Male

History: Jabulani means “happiness” in Zulu. Jabu was found by a school group on a beach in East London in 1996. He only weighed 35kg on arrival at uShaka Sea World, but today he is the largest male in our seal colony.

Character: He is a gentle giant and the trainers affectionately call him the “Shrek monster” because of his facial expressions and large ears. He is very creative and quick to learn.

Activities: He enjoys fish ice-lollies and retrieving the frisbee.

Fact: The South African fur seal has the scientific name Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus. Arctocephalus is Greek for “bear-like head” and pusillus means “little”, after the first description based on a picture of a young pup. Seals are a part of the Pinniped family. “Pinniped” is Latin for “fin-footed”

 

Moya

Moya

Sex: Female

History: Moya means “wind” or “spirit” in Zulu, a name taken from one of the elements where she was found on the West Coast of South Africa. She was rescued from Kleinseë on 24 July in 1998 when fish stocks all but ran out. Moya arrived at uShaka Sea World as a 9 kg pup but has grown into a beautiful adult seal, averaging over 70kg.

Character: She is intelligent and spirited.

Activities: She enjoys playing with ice blocks, puzzle feeders and water hoses.

Fact: In seals, the whole digestive process takes an average of 18 hours. Every day seals consume between 6-10% of their body weight.

 

Mullet

Mullet

Sex: Female

History: Mullet was housed at another facility for a few years until she moved to uShaka Sea World in 2007. Mullet is named after her favourite food!

Character: Mullet is a little nervous and shy.

Activities: She enjoys being sprayed with the hose and playing with fresh kelp.

Fact: Seals have short tongues which are wide at the back and taper to a pronounced notch in the front.

 

Tee

Tee

Sex: Female

History: Tee was housed at another facility before moving to uShaka Sea World in 2007. Tee is short for Terminator, a name she acquired when she was a feisty pup. She is now affectionately named “Tee.”

Character: Inquisitive, confident and consistent in everything she does.

Activities: Tee enjoys being sprayed with water and playing with puzzle feeders.

Fact: Seals bark, snort and roar. Sounds are used for communication, aggression or alarm. Pups bleat so that their mothers can locate them.

 

Thembeka

Thembeka

Sex: Female

History: Thembeka means “to be trusted” in Zulu. She was one of ten pups that became stranded on a beach in Port Elizabeth after a bad storm. She still had her umbilical cord attached when found. She arrived at uShaka Sea World on 6th January 1998. She now weighs over 60kg. Thembeka has wavy hair, unlike other seals that have short straight hair.

Character: She has a curious nature.

Activities: She enjoys exploring her environment, playing with ice and pull toys.

Fact: A South African fur seal's body temperature is between 36.5° C – 37.5° C. Thick layers of under-fur effectively insulate the seal from its environment. Air trapped in the fur keeps the skin dry and warm. Seals conserve heat by lying on top of their flippers.

 

Mobi

Mobi

Sex: Male

History: Born at National Zoological Gardens on 27 November 2008. He arrived at uShaka Sea World with his brother Spungie on 10 May 2011.

Character: He is very adventurous and curious. He is the smallest seal at uShaka Sea World, but has the loudest call!

Activities: He enjoys playing with kelp and with the hosepipe.

 

Spungie

 

Spungie

Sex: Male

History: Born at National Zoological Gardens on 7 Dec 2007. He arrived at uShaka Sea World with his brother Mobi on 10 May 2011.

Character: He is very confident, clever, responsive and eager to learn.

Activities: He enjoys playing with kelp and with the hosepipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gimli turns 25

Seals in the news

 

Gimli turns 25

The staff at uShaka Sea World wish Gimli a Happy 25th birthday. Gimli was born at the old Sea World to Siggi and Benji, and just like her mother, is a very beautiful seal.

Although she is now blind, Gimli has the longest whiskers that the seal team has ever seen on a seal, and they come in really handy to help her neotiate her way around. She lives with Moya and the two new seals from Pretoria Zoo, Spungie and Mobi.

Two of the Sea World staff who were at her birth 25 years ago, were also on hand to wish her a happy birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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