I read that Reykjavík Zoo is expanding its seal enclosure; how many seals live there? Skip to content

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Q

I read that Reykjavík Zoo is expanding its seal enclosure; how many seals live there?

A

Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo is currently home to four seals: Særún (female), Svavar, Garðar, and Kópur (male). Særún is the oldest, born in 1989, while Svavar and Garðar were born in 2017 and Kópur in 2019. The three younger seals are a bit more active than Særún and are known to jump when they’re excited about something, like an upcoming meal. Særún has slowed down with age but has learned to communicate well with her keepers: she bites at the air when she wants fish.

With a depth of 1.7 metres, the seals’ current pool is fairly shallow. Its volume is therefore also small, just over 100 metres cubed. The new pool, which will connect to the old one, will quadruple the total volume of the pool and will be more than four metres [13 feet] deep, allowing the seals more room for diving. Unlike the current seal facilities, the new enclosure will conform to the guidelines of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The expansion is expected to be complete by November 2022.

Most of the animals at Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo are domestic animals such as sheep and goats. Keeping seals at the park has been controversial. In 2019, Marine biologist and Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo division head Þorkell Heiðarsson argued that pups born in the enclosure should be released into the wild. Icelandic law, however, does not allow seals to be released from captivity.

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