Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo welcomes two new seals

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Two harbor seals are now calling Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium home.

Thursday morning, the harbor seals — Milo and Monty — were exploring their new exhibit for the first time. They join six sea lions already at the zoo’s newest exhibit.

Milo came to Omaha from Milwaukee in March, and Monty made the trip from Des Moines last month. Both harbor seals are almost three years old and have already bonded with one another. Milo is brown with lots of spots; Monty is gray with a few spots. And while they look like sea lions, they’re quite different: harbor seals are smaller, they aren’t as fast in the water, and their ears and snouts are different.

“The biggest difference is they don’t handle being on land very well,” zoo Director Dennis Pate said Thursday. “They kind of move like a caterpillar moves because they can’t rotate their hips. Sea lions are pretty agile on land; harbor seals — not so much.”

Zoo leaders said they’re excited to grow the sea lion exhibit.

“For people coming to the zoo, it’s just nice to see another animal that they’ve never seen at the Omaha zoo before and see them with the sea lions,” Pate said. “It’s been our hallmark to show you lots of different types of animals, lots of diversity to help you appreciate life on Earth.”

Pate says the harbor seals are adjusting to their new environment, and they’re already responding to training. He said only one of the harbor seals had been around sea lions before, so the zoo is working to slowly introduce them to their new exhibit-mates.

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