A baby seal, who was born in the summer, has been reunited with the rest of the colony at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
Cody, a three-month-old harbour seal, was reintroduced to the other seals and sea lions at the North Tyneside attraction after being successfully weaned off milk and on to a fish diet.
He has progressed so well his keepers took the decision to return him to the main Seal Cove area which is home to both harbour seals and California sea lions.
Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “The seals were curious but very friendly towards him on his return – especially the males.
“He is eating well, putting on lots of weight and enjoying swimming and interacting with his playmates; especially one year old Benji!
“We waited until after we had drained the cove for some routine cleaning and then, once the pools had re-filled, we opened the barrier and let him go and explore,” she added.
Cody is only the second seal pup to have been born at the aquarium. With his arrival the aquarium now looks after six harbour seals.
All are captive bred, with adult females Loffe and Selina coming from Norway and the males Marvolo, who is the father of both pups, and Sofus coming from Denmark.
They share their spacious outdoor home with California sea lions Lucy and Finn.
Both California sea lions and harbour seals are part of the pinniped family, along with walruses. The main differences between the two species are that sea lions are sleeker looking and have large front flippers which allow them to move about easily on land.
Harbour seals are smaller and more sausage-shaped and appear much clumsier out of the water.
Seal Cove contains more than 800,000 litres of seawater and features man-made islands, underwater caves, diving pools and a cascading waterfall.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange picture/filming and interview opportunities please contact Anna Etchells on 0191 258 1031.