5 endangered seals come to Minnesota Zoo

Published 9:56 am Thursday, May 14, 2015

APPLE VALLEY — Members of a critically endangered seal species are coming to the Minnesota Zoo.

The zoo in Apple Valley is unveiling the five new Hawaiian monk seals to the public over Memorial Day weekend. There are about 1,100 in the world, and Hawaii is the only other place they can be seen publicly.

Zoo officials say the female seals weighing about 450 pounds come from SeaWorld in San Antonio, with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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The seals are about 20 years old and have been in captivity since they were juveniles after they were found malnourished. They can’t be released back into the wild because of their limited eyesight.

The marine mammals will be housed in the Minnesota Zoo’s Discovery Bay pools, where dolphins last lived in 2012.