22
March
2018
|
05:00 PM
America/New_York

Baby Splash Coming to Hersheypark!

Mango the Harbor Seal is Expecting!

Another splash is coming to Hersheypark in early summer...this time it’s a baby splash! Harbor seals Mango and Bumper, the stars of the Our Friends from the Sea show, are expecting their first seal pup!

Our Friends from the Sea is an entertaining and educational show that features our California sea lions and Atlantic harbor seals.

The pup will join the Hersheypark family sometime in the early summer season, as seal pups are usually born in spring and summer and typically on land. The pup will learn to swim very soon after birth and will get into the water almost immediately. As is the case with all animals at Hersheypark, Mango will receive the best care and support before, during and after birth along with her pup.

If you’d like to see them before the pup arrives, Our Friends from the Sea show is located at the Aquatheatre with various show times. However, we can’t promise you will see Mango during our shows until she gives birth, as it will be her choice if she wants to perform or not, as is the case with all our animals. Our trainers will also not let her do any behaviors that could potentially harm her or the pup.

Hersheypark shows will be postponed immediately after Mango gives birth to provide the mother and pup the opportunity to rest and bond. Shows will resume once trainers feel the family has settled in. The new pup will be named by their Hersheypark family and will stay with us for a full year after arriving.

You can follow along with Mango updates on Hersheypark and Oceans Of Fun social media channels.

Mango History:

  • Birth Date: Assigned date of May 20, 2006

  • Her Story: When Mango was approximately 1-2 months old, she stranded off the coast of Maine and was brought to the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center. She quickly earned the nickname “Boomerang” by the rehabilitation center because she would continue to approach people after release and would be brought back into the center until she was finally deemed unreleasable. 

  • At about 7 months old, Mango was transported to the Chicago Zoological Society, in December 2006. Oceans of Fun is a breeding facility which works collaboratively with accredited zoos and aquariums to ensure species survival. The two organizations, Chicago Zoological Society and Oceans of Fun, collaborated in the best interest of their saving species commitment in 2015 when Mango joined Bumper in Hersheypark with the high hopes of producing a pup. 

  • Bumper and Mango have remained at Hersheypark year-round since 2015 with the goal of supporting breeding.

  • Mango was confirmed to be pregnant in early February 2018 with her first pup.

Bumper History:

  • Birth Date: Bumper was born at the Long Island Aquarium in New York on June 14, 2009. His mother was a stranded animal who was deemed non-releasable and taken in by the Long Island Aquarium.

  • His Story: In January 2012 Bumper joined the Oceans of Fun family. In 2013 Bumper made his way to Hersheypark and stole the hearts of thousands of guests as he was the first harbor seal to make an appearance at Hersheypark.

  • In 2015, as he reached maturity it was decided that Bumper needed a female companion. With breeding and saving species being our primary goal, Mango joined the family in Hersheypark with the hopes of breeding in the future.

  • In 2015 both Mango and Bumper made Hersheypark their year-round home in order to support breeding and propagation.

General Harbor Seal Information:

  • Seals and sea lions are semi-aquatic mammals that are in the family pinniped, meaning “winged footed.” Harbor seals are “true” seals, also called earless seals. Their ears are difficult to visually see as they are internal.

  • There are 18 species of true seals.

  • Harbor seals are generally solitary animals and rarely interact with one another. An exception to this is the strong mother-pup bond maintained until the pup is weaned

  • Lifespan: 10-15 years in the wild. In human care they can live into their late 30s, and some seals have lived into their 40s due to the excellent welfare accredited zoological institutions provide.

  • Average Weight: Males weigh 225-275 pounds; Females weigh 120-175 pounds.

  • Habitat and Distribution: Harbor seals are generally non-migratory and occur on both the U.S east and west coasts. On the East Coast, harbor seals are found from the Canadian Arctic to New Jersey and occasionally in the Carolinas. On the west coast, harbor seals are found in the coastal and estuarine waters from British Columbia, Canada to Baja, California. They are found farther west through the Gulf of Alaska and in the Bering Sea.

  • Harbor seals are the only seal found in every ocean.

  • Reproduction: Harbor seals mate at sea and females give birth during the spring and summer; although, the pupping season varies with latitude.

  • Gestation: Seals are typically pregnant for about a year. They go through an embryonic diapause where the egg will remain dormant for approximately three months before it begins developing. It then spends around 9 months developing and pups are born in early spring/summer when conditions are ideal for both the mother and the pup.

  • Seals typically give birth to one pup each year.

  • Diet: They are opportunistic foragers that will eat just about any species of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans they can get their mouths on.

  • They are capable of diving to depths of up to 656 feet.

  • Seals are capable of holding their breath for about 25 minutes.

  • A fatty tissue called “blubber” keeps them warm in and out of the water.

  • Sexual maturity for seals occurs at ages 3-6 for females and 3-7 for males.

  • While they are more solitary than California sea lions, seals do haul out of the water on rocky cliffs and sandy beaches near other seals to rest and raise their pups.

  • All pinnipeds; seals, sea lions and walrus are protected in US waters under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

  • It is against the law to disturb harbor seals and other marine mammals.

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