Animal: Harbour Seal

Taxonomic name: Phoca vitulina

Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

Wild Range: Wetlands, Marine, and Coastal areas of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

Diet: Primarily fishes, but also aquatic invertebrates such as crabs, mollusks, and squid.

Longevity in the wild: 20 to 35 years

Size: Up to 185 cm long

Weight: Up to 150 kg

Fun fact: Harbour Seals are one of the most widespread pinnipeds, found throughout the coasts of the Northern Hemisphere. The term "pinniped" refers to marine mammals that have front and rear flippers. It comes from the Latin word "pinna" which means "wing" or "fin". This group includes animals such as seals, sea lions, and walruses, which spend most of their time in the ocean but are also able to come on land for extended periods.

Conservation Story:  Did you know that five of the seven harbour seals that live at Assiniboine Park Zoo are rescues from the West Coast of Canada? These seals were rescued by the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and deemed non-releaseable. The seals were given a new home at the Zoo where they help educate visitors about their wild counterparts. So, next time you visit the Zoo, don't forget to say hello!

Visit our seals in the Journey to Churchill section of the Zoo!