14:37 PM

Hersheypark Welcomes New Gray Seal in Partnership with Ocean Connections

Bowie is the first of his species to join the flippered family at Hersheypark

Hersheypark in partnership with Ocean Connections today announced a rescued gray seal pup named Bowie recently joined the flippered family. 

Bowie arrived at the Aquatheatre inside Hersheypark from the NY Marine Rescue Center and has begun bonding with the animal care team. Follow @Hersheypark and @OceanConnectionsOfficial on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Bowie as he get acclimated to his new home and progresses in his training. 

Bowie's Story 

According to Ocean Connections, Bowie was about one month old when he was found severely malnourished and dehydrated on an East Coast beach. He was immediately taken to the New York Marine Rescue Center, where the veterinary and animal care team worked diligently to help him regain his strength in hopes of returning him to the wild.  During multiple medical assessments, it was discovered that Bowie has microphthalmia or under-developed eyes, which resulted in him being completely blind in his right eye and partially blind in his left eye. Sadly, this meant that Bowie would not be able to hunt or avoid predators with this condition and was deemed non-releasable. 

Hersheypark is honored to play a role in giving Bowie a second chance at a healthy and happy life along with Cocoa, Cobh and Harper (Atlantic Harbor Seals), and Colby and Ripley (California Sea Lions). Details about his first public appearance and any special programs will be shared closer to the start of the Hersheypark 2022 operating season.


10 Facts about Gray Seals

  1. Female gray seals live to be 35 and males up to 25 years in the wild.
  2. Male gray seals weigh between 375 to 880 pounds.  Females weigh 220 and 572 pounds.
  3. Male gray seals are almost 10 feet in length.
  4. Gray seals live in temperate and subarctic waters on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean.  There are three distinct populations: one off the coast of Canada that extends down to New England, a second around the coasts of the United Kingdom and a third located in the Baltic Sea.
  5. Seals are opportunistic foragers that will eat just about anything, but gray seals will typically feed on eels and cod.  In fact, grey seals eat an estimated 11 pounds of fish per day.
  6. In the wild, gray seals  face numerous threats including predators (sharks, orcas), illegal poaching, marine pollution, entanglement and encroachment.
  7. Gray seals have excellent above and below the surface hearing.  
  8. Gray seals often communicate to one another using a series of growls and grunts.
  9. Gray seals have an astute sense of smell that allows them to detect predators or find their young on a crowded beach.
  10. Gray seals cannot breathe underwater.