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A 6-year-old gray seal gave birth to a healthy pup Monday morning at the Louisville Zoo.

Zoo officials said during an afternoon press conference that the mother, Rona, and baby are doing well and will be off the exhibit for several weeks to bond.

Rona is strong strong maternal instincts, said associate veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest.

“She’s paying attention to the pup, she’s attentive,” she said. “She’s positioning herself to allow nursing, so the pup has nursed, is vocalizing normally and appears to be healthy.”

Seal pups weigh 30 to 35 lbs. at birth and nurse for four weeks, during which time they gain about 100 lbs., according to the zoo. They also molt their soft white fur, called lanugo, in that time.

The zoo will announce a naming contest for the baby pup soon.

 

 

Kate Howard is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.