Maritime Aquarium of Norwalk mourns Susie the harbor seal
NORWALK -The staff of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is mourning the loss of the harbor seal named Susie, believed to be second-oldest seal in the United States, according to the aquarium.
Susie, who has been at The Maritime Aquarium since its opening in 1988, was 43 years old.
“We’re always saddened by the loss of any animal at the Aquarium,” said Dr. Brian Davis, president of The Maritime Aquarium in s statement. “But, as one of two seals that have been with us since the beginning, as our oldest seal and as the mother of two of the seals we have had here, Susie will always have special place in our hearts. She was the grande dame of our seal exhibit.”
A necropsy at the University of Connecticut will be conducted. Life expectancy of a harbor seal is about 15 years in the wild but rises into the 20s and 30s for seals that receive attentive husbandry care in zoos and aquariums. The oldest harbor seal is believed to be a 45-year-old seal in the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin.
Susie was born in May 1973 but – for unknown reasons – was abandoned by her mother when less than a month old. She was rescued on Sable Island, Nova Scotia.
Susie lived at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod before moving to Mystic Aquarium.
Harbor seals are one of the most common species in New England’s waters. They visit Long Island Sound during the winter months, before returning for summer to their breeding and pupping grounds in the Gulf of Maine.
Of the remaining six harbor seals at The Maritime Aquarium, the oldest is now a 33-year-old female seal named Orange, born in 1982.