Nine Russian bearded seal pups have traveled from frigid northern seas and through a series of quarantines and inspections to a climatized new home in tropical Zhuhai.
The five males and four females under 2 years old recently joined the Ocean Kingdom family at Chimelong International Ocean Resort in Hengqin. They are doing okay after 30 days of quarantine, despite having been airlifted from Russia to Guangzhou and then escorted to Chimelong, according to a local quarantine officer.
Bearded seals, which are found in the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans, have conspicuous and abundant whiskers. These sensitive white facial hairs are used to find shrimp, crabs, clams, and sea snails on the ocean floor, but they also eat fish when they can.
They join spotted seals already at Chimelong along with beluga whales, dolphins, polar bears, walruses, penguins, and manatees.
The bearded seals were listed as second-class national protected animals in 1988 and included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List under the category of Least Concerned 2017 assessment on iucnredlist.org. IUCN states on its website that it is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
Russian bearded seal [Photo provided by Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau]
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