Jesus is not the only one whose birth is celebrated in winter. Now is the pupping season of the Grey Seals. I just found this webcam and love listening to the sea and the wind, and watching the mothers and babies. (scroll down) I see this with joy because when I first met my Grey Seals, it was thought there were only about 30 in US waters, due to hunting by humans.
I LOVE Grey Seals. I IDENTIFY with Grey Seals. They are smart, discerning, sensitive, and not prone to taking nonsense from anyone. In “Talk to Me!” I tell stories of Lila and Selkie. Lila and Selkie are Grey Seals.
The US Navy, had some of these smart, canny animals in a diving work program. When the program ended, they planned to retire the seals back to the wild. Our seals were originally from Iceland. They tend to be a bit smaller than the Western Atlantic Gray Seals found in Maine and further North. However, the seals preferred to stay in the Navy! Because the seals refused to return to the wild, they were donated to the National Zoo in January of 1979. Their project manager, Bill Scronce, arranged this. Elsa, Gus and Gunther, became Selkie (the magical being of Celtic mythology), Njal (champion), and Gunnar (warrior). Njal soon went to the Los Angeles Zoo. Selkie and Gunnar had three daughters (Groendal, Kara and Chandrie), two of whom have returned to the zoo and now live with Selkie, along with one granddaughter. I am so happy for this. Selkie has been a peerless matriarch, once even bringing my attention to the endangered pup of another female. Selkie is about 40 years old now and I believe she basks in the companionship of her female family. Gunnar died two years ago. He was a noble, powerful animal. A wise and gentle prince. Once Gunnar saved a keeper from ending up in the water – but that is a story for another time.
The babies are born with a fine, fluffy, brilliantly white coat, called the lanugo coat. They will have that coat for about 3 – 4 weeks, while they are nursing and gaining weight. They will often quadruple their birth weight (approximately 30 pounds growing to 120 pounds).. They gain weight quickly, lose their thier fine white coat to a coarse, waterproof, silvery coat, dappled with charcoal grey, and soon after, hit the water, to make their own way. We don’t know how close the seals stay with their mothers, as they continue to mature. We do know they are quite independent within a month or so. Click for Wikipedia on grey seals
This is a whirlwind season. The beach will soon be clear again, so check it out while you can. Awesome animals.