A new seal enclosure will greatly expand the space seals have for swimming at Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo. Reykjavík City Council approved a motion today to being the construction of a new pool and service building at the zoo. There are four seals currently in the enclosure, which is also used to rehabilitate wild animals in distress.
The new pool will connect to the older one, where the seals are currently kept. It will be significantly deeper, allowing the seals to dive to a depth of four metres [13 feet]. It will include large windows along one side that will allow park visitors to see the seals from a new perspective.
“This addition will greatly improve the zoo’s ability to provide educational services in addition to taking better care of the animals, including reception of wild animals in distress in connection with Reykjavík Animal Services,” a notice from the City of Reykjavík states. The pool is expected to be completed by November 2022 and will cost an estimated ISK 125 million [$955 million; €904,000].
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.