• Young seals make move to Manhattan from Brooklyn
  • Harbor seals return to zoo after three years
  • Species can be found in waters surrounding New York City
  • WCS’s New York Seascape Program works locally to save marine species
New York, NY – Dec. 16, 2014 – Two young harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) have made their public debut at WCS’s Central Park Zoo. It is the first time since 2011 that the species has been exhibited at the zoo.

The two male seals, Adam and Anson, were born at WCS’s New York Aquarium. They are still juveniles (7 and 19 months) and not yet fully grown. As adults they could reach up to 250 pounds each. They are the first harbor seals born at the aquarium in more than 15 years.

The two seals at Central Park Zoo are in the pool adjacent to the Polar Circle penguin and puffin exhibits. The harbor seals are immediately distinguishable from their cousins in the sea lion pool. Both seals and sea lions are members of the pinniped family, but they look and move differently.

Harbor seals lack the external ear flaps found on sea lions. Harbor seals also have more tubular bodies with spotted coats that can range in color from silver to dark brown or black. Sea lions are more agile on land since they can support their weight with, and walk on, their front flippers. Harbor seals cannot, and their locomotion resembles a caterpillar. In the water, both are excellent swimmers but sea lions propel themselves with strong front flippers while harbor seals use powerful hind flippers.

Though not endangered, harbor seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are abundant off the coast of New York City and Long Island.

WCS’s expansive Global Marine Program conducts conservation work and activities locally and in 23 countries and all five oceans to help save marine life. WCS works to protect harbor seals through the New York Seascape, a conservation program designed to restore healthy populations of local marine species in New York City waters.

Max Pulsinelli: (o) 718-220-5182 (m) 571-218-7601; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild: (o) 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo - Open every day of the year. General Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $7 for children 3 to 12, and free for children younger than 3. Total Experience Admission is $18.00 for adults, $15.00 for senior citizens, and $13.00 for children 3 to 12. 4-D theater admission is $4.00 for members and $7.00 for non-members. Zoo hours are 10am to 5:30 pm, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. Tickets are sold until one half-hour before closing. The zoo is located at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. For further information, please call 212-439-6500 or visit www.centralparkzoo.com

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS): MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.