Recovering seal becomes aquarium’s ambassador

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– The seal’s name is Ziggy Star and she flew Fed Ex clear across the country to get here and she brings with her quite a story.

“Ziggy Star’s story began when she was found on a beach on the Medocino coast in California last April,” said Tracy Romano, Exec VP of Research & Zoological Operations.

Severely emaciated, the Northern Fur Seal could barely move. Veterinarians figured out her poor physical condition was because of a neurological condition.

“She’s unable to process visual images normally so with limited vision and she exhibits dis-coordinated movements,” said Dr. Allison Tuttle/Veterinarian, Mystic Aquarium.

Which is why she came to Mystic. She should be able to thrive with a little help of course.

Ziggy with trainer

“We’ll be able to continue to provide her the fish she wouldn’t otherwise be able to catch if she was out in the ocean,” said Tuttle.

An expensive trip there though, about $10,000 to transport her but well worth it to those who say she will now be an ambassador for a depleted species which seldom gets stranded. She is one of only a dozen Northern Fur Seals at aquariums in the US and now one of three in Mystic.

“It’s very very rare to have an adult come in so it’s an opportunity of a lifetime for us to be able to take care of her, to be able to help her,” said Laurie Macha, Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds.

Fun Fact is these northern fur seals have 300,000 hairs per square inch.

Soon Ziggy Star will be joining Sam there in the Pacific Northwest Exhibit.

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