Little orphaned seal pup Dilla is thriving in her enclosure at petting zoo Slakki, in Laugarás, South Iceland—and her lively presence has brought joy to the zoo’s guests, both young and old.
Earlier this spring, the newborn Dilla somehow became separated from her mother, and was discovered all alone on a small island near the Þjórsá river delta. The pup has since been cared for by staff at Slakki.
Dilla now enjoys swimming around in her pool and playing with balls and other floating toys.
“She’s very happy,” her primary carer Stefanie Meier told mbl.is.
Although harbor seals have been known to pray on ducks in the wild, Dilla reportedly gets along very well with ones that share her pond—as well as with the hens that roam freely around the park, but now prefer to spend most of their time near the pup.
Slakki’s unusual summer resident has certainly drawn attention beyond the zoo’s borders, but guests are urged to be cautious around the little seal, and touching her is prohibited.
Like all seals she has strong jaws, and though she is not aggressive, even a playful bite can cause injury. She will also jump up and snap at hands she thinks are concealing food.
Thanks to regular feedings—consisting of a nutritious smoothie made from fish, sheep’s milk and cod liver oil—Dilla is growing by around 250-300 grams per day.
So far she hasn’t shown much interest in hunting the fish in her pond, but plans have been made to introduce fish of a smaller breed, that will be easier for her to catch.
It will be vital for Dilla to hone her hunting skills, so she can eventually be released into the wild. Staff hope that time will come at some point in the early fall, most likely in late August.
On her website The Kiwi Fruit, Dilla’s carer Stefanie posts regular updates on the pup’s progress.
Below is a video of Dilla uploaded to the site late last month: