Grey Seal Pup Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

Grey Seal Pup Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

Male Pup born on January 26; Required Human Intervention

CHICAGO (February 10, 2022) – Lincoln Park Zoo is excited to share the arrival of a flippered addition. On January 26, 8-year-old grey seal Jersey gave birth to a healthy, male pup. Unfortunately, Jersey did not display appropriate maternal instincts to care for or protect the pup and human intervention was deemed necessary.

Animal Care staff have been working closely with experts from the Association of Zoos’ and Aquariums (AZA) Grey Seal Species Survival Plan® (SSP) and providing around-the-clock support to ensure the infant receives optimal care and continues to pass critical milestones. The pup will remain behind the scenes while he grows in size and strength. At birth, he weighed 30 pounds.

“We remain cautiously optimistic as the pup navigates toward weaning, or the advancement to solid foods, which typically happens around three weeks of age,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray. “The pup’s progress thus far is a testament to the dedication of the Animal Care and Veterinary staff.”

The zoo has named the seal pup Fisher in memory of the late Dr. Fisher, who was a Chicago icon and staple of the Lincoln Park Zoo family as both a veterinarian and zoo director. This name is thus also a tribute to the dedicated veterinarians on staff who are providing 24/7 care to the pup. And lastly, it is a nod to seals’ diets which are largely made up of fish.

After a gestation period lasting 11 months, grey seals give birth on land and stay out of the water for the entire nursing period. Pups are born with silky white hair called lanugo and molt into a darker coat around the same time they are weaned.

Jersey was recommended to breed with 8-year-old male grey seal Charles as part of the Grey Seal Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative population management effort among AZA institutions. This is Jersey’s first offspring.

Grey seals have short necks, widely set nostrils, and few spots compared to some other seals. They can measure up to 11 feet long and weigh nearly 900 pounds. Females are silver-gray with scattered dark spots while males are dark gray with silver-gray spots. Grey seals are opportunistic predators, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

For more information about grey seals or Lincoln Park Zoo, visit

About Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at

Media Contacts

Jillian Braun

Lincoln Park Zoo

Anna Cieslik

Lincoln Park Zoo

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