Meet Mario: a new resident explores the Aquarium

Meet Mario: a new resident explores the Aquarium

The first northern fur seal born at the Primorsky Aquarium has begun his independent life. The baby seal called Mario has switched from mother’s milk to fish and moved from quarantine into a permanent enclosure. Thus, it is high time to be introduced to the general public.

“In the wild, seal pups feed on mother’s milk until four to six months of age, and in our case it worked out like in nature — Mario had spent six months with his mother before he learnt to feed on his own: at first, the pup just played with fish but then he finally realized that it could be eaten,” said Severin Leunov, Mario’s trainer and caretaker. “Mario has not yet developed any food preferences, he consumes everything he is given: whitefish, salmon, squid, scallop. I don’t think that he will become a picky eater later on.”

The baby seal was born healthy, strong and curious – at only ten days old, he got over the fence and jumped into the water after his mother.

“Obviously, I was initially anxious about him but it took me a couple of days to find out that he was an excellent swimmer and had no problems with hauling out on shore - that is, there are no reasons to worry about,” said Severin Leunov. “As for his curiosity, the baby seal was even named Mario due to this quality. Just like the character of the iconic video game, the pup shows a special interest in water pipes.”

Mario is being raised in a loving environment; he is encouraged to actively explore his birthplace – the Aquarium – and to get familiar with its inhabitants and staff. This is being done to help the baby fur seal who is naturally shy and timid to become as sociable and confident as possible.

Accompanied by his caretaker, Mario has made several journeys through the Aquarium to meet all his kin, walrus Misha, dolphins and belugas. Of all the new acquaintances, it was belugas who aroused the most interest of Mario, and the attraction turned out to be mutual.

It should be reminded that Mario is the first northern fur seal born at the Primorsky Aquarium. Our visitors are no strangers to his parents, Masha and Zin, living in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk exhibit. Now the Aquarium has six fur seals including Mario.