Winnipeg, meet Camrose and Cetus — 2 new seals at Assiniboine Park Zoo

Camrose and Cetus came from the Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Centre last month and have joined the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the zoo.

Latest additions to Winnipeg zoo join Journey to Churchill exhibit

Camrose the harbour seal is the latest addition to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. (Supplied by Laura Cabak)

Winnipeg, meet Camrose the seal — one of two fresh, wet-faced additions to the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

He and his seal pal Cetus came from the Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Centre last month and have joined the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the zoo.

The seals were rescued when they were just one week old last summer. Each had medical issues and were found abandoned off different areas of coastal Vancouver.

Most of the roughly 150 animals rescued by the marine centre go back to the wild after rehabilitation, but that wasn't the case for Camrose and Cetus because they have impaired vision, said Johanna Soto.

"In the wild they would have trouble finding food and seeing predators," said Soto, curator of animal care at the zoo. "That's why they're not releasable."

After undergoing nearly a year of rehabilitation of their own, the two males had a chance to bond. That was obvious when they were shipped to Winnipeg in June, said Soto.

"When they came out of their travel crates they were immediately right next to each other," Soto told Caroline Barghout, guest host of CBC Radio's Up to Speed.

Camrose is visually impaired and likely wouldn't survive in the wild, said Soto. (Supplied by Laura Cabak/Assiniboine Park Zoo)

All animals spend 30 days in quarantine at the zoo before they are introduced to the public and other animals of the same species.

Having finished up that quarantine period earlier this week, Cetus and Camrose met five other seals at the zoo, all of which are male and all of which came from the Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

"So far they are fitting in with the group," said Soto, adding the zoo doesn't want to get into the seal breeding business and has decided to only take in bachelors.

Visitors can now catch the group of seven swimming through the network of tunnels and pools at the Journey to Churchill exhibit.


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