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Remaining together

Retirement plan prioritizes long-term welfare of OSC seals

Campus and Community

By Madeline Meadus

Tyler and Deane, Memorial’s resident seals at the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC), will be relocated in the coming weeks.

A seal in the foreground and a seal in the background on a wooden platform with a tank to the right.
Tyler and Deane at the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay.
Photo: Submitted

The decision to relocate the seals has been difficult, but ensuring the animals’ needs are being met is a top priority for the university.Tyler is estimated to be 33 years old and has been at the OSC since 1990. His daughter, Deane, was born there in 2002. They will remain together during the relocation.

Harp seals have been at the OSC since 1989. Babette (1983-2021) was six years old when she came to the OSC with her pup.

Since Babette’s passing, Memorial has been developing a retirement plan to ensure the long-term welfare of Tyler and Deane.

Seals are incredibly social animals; they require an enriched environment to remain active, healthy and happy. The relocation plan will introduce Tyler and Deane to a new seal environment and ensure that the pair remains together.

Until they move, the OSC will continue to welcome visitors to the seal viewing platform.

The platform is open to visitors year-round from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

‘Overwhelming support’

“We recognize the significance the seals have within the Memorial community as well as the broader Avalon and especially to the students and volunteers that have generously dedicated their time to ensuring the seals were fed and enriched while living at the Ocean Sciences Centre,” said Dr. Travis Fridgen, dean, Faculty of Science. “To these employees, volunteers and students, we extend our thanks for all you have done for the many seals that have called the OSC home.”

The seals are also a part of the Marine Public Education Program. The program welcomes more than 22,000 visitors each summer and helps support the OSC and its research endeavours. The seal viewing platform is one of the OSC’s main attractions.

“We would also like to thank the public for their overwhelming support of the OSC, the Marine Public Education Program and the seals program,” said Dr. Fridgen.

At the request of the receiving institution, the OSC is not yet disclosing the location of the seals to allow time for the relocation process and for the seals to settle into their new home.

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