A seal pup celebrated its first birthday with the help of keepers and visitors at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium over the weekend.
Benji the harbour seal was born at the aquarium on July 5th 2013 and is the first pup to have been bred at the North Tyneside wildlife attraction.
To mark the special occasion, keepers prepared a special four-tiered frozen birthday cake for him filled with his favourite fish. Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “Benji has been a real favourite from the moment he was born. “Over the last year he has learnt all of the skills the other seals do and is already the best dancer!
“He loves practising to jump, which is the only thing he really needs to work on. He hasn’t quite figured out how to swim down and propel himself up – he kind of jumps from the surface and bellyflops but it is so cute to watch,” she added.
Pups are born on land but are able to swim and dive within hours. They remain dependent on their mother’s milk for up to four weeks and can expect to more than double their birth weight each week during that time.
Benji is the aquarium’s fifth harbour seal. All are captive bred, with females Loffe and mum Selina coming from Norway and the males Sofus and dad Marvolo coming from Denmark.
Since arriving at the aquarium in 2007 the seals have become firm favourites with staff and visitors alike – and their keepers have formed particularly close bonds with them.
Seal Cove contains more than 650,000 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.