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Seals play pumpkin polo at Living Coasts

Keepers at Torquay’s coastal zoo floated the pumpkin in the seal pool and the seals attacked it enthusiastically to get the fishy morsels. As the pumpkin was encased in ice, they had to wait for this to melt in the salt water before they could reach their prize.

It was part water polo, part puzzle and all fun. It’s a good example of what zoos call environmental enrichment; objects and activities that stimulate animals mentally and / or physically. Pet owners do a spot of environmental enrichment every time they give their pets a new toy to play with.

There are five South American fur seals at Living Coasts. Five month old pup Tamar and his mother Grace are living separately from the others until Tamar is bigger. The rest of the group consists of father Karel (pronounced Carl) and young females Gemini (born in 2014) and Tunanta (the first seal pup to be born there) to play with. Gemini is Tamar’s full sister, while Tunanta is unrelated.