The world's first experience of breeding spotted seal was seaside aquarium
Apr 11, 2019

The world's first experience of breeding spotted seal was seaside aquarium

The calf of the spotted seal was born at the seaside aquarium on March 6 in 4 hours and 40 minutes. The newborn was named Jupiter and became in many ways a pioneer: he is the first representative of marine mammals, born in the seaside aquarium, and, most importantly, the history of Jupiter – is the world's first case of conception, hatching, birth and nursing baby Larga in artificial conditions.

- The preservation of ocean biodiversity is impossible without a lot of research work, – said the Director of the Primorsky aquarium Sergey Loginov. – Many species of animals survived on the planet only due to the fact that scientists have learned to breed them in captivity. Our foreign colleagues recorded the occurrence of young of the spotted in terms of aquariums, but the seals did not survive. We managed to create conditions for the successful management of the first pregnancy of the female Larga and nursing the baby without the need for artificial feeding. A month before the birth were introduced around the clock duty specialists, installed CCTV cameras, studies were conducted in full accordance with the biology of the species.

At birth, Jupiter weighed 9 kilograms, the first three to four weeks of life, the squirrels eat only mother's milk and actively gain weight. Milk from spotted seals is very nutritious – fat content reaches 50%, protein content 15%. During the day, Jupiter added up to one and a half to two kilograms of weight and weighed 37 kilograms per month.

After active weight gain kids go to the so-called period of hunger of cubs. For several weeks occur molting and rebuilding the digestive system: the cubs lose weight and come back to normal, which allows you to hunt – "combat" weight is 25 pounds or less.

While Jupiter's mother – the barbarian – was feeding the baby, she refused to eat. So same behave females in nature. Scientists believe that this protective mechanism allows to preserve the unique composition of seal milk. Until the baby Cooking, weighed half a hundredweight. During childbirth, she lost about 20 kilograms and another 45 kilograms in three weeks of feeding.

– Almost every day observations of Varya and Jupiter brings micro-discoveries, to compare the research material with nothing – it is unique, – says the scientific Director of the laboratory of marine mammals of the National scientific center of marine biology. A.V. Zhirmunsky Feb RAS, leading specialist of the Department of experimental studies of the Primorsky Oceanarium Igor Katin. – Largi themselves are unique for Vladivostok: there are not so many cities in the world, in the line of which one can observe the highest predatory animal. Larga, which lives in the Gulf of Peter the Great – a separate group, which is even genetically different from other larg inhabiting the far Eastern seas - continues Igor Katin. - The main feature of our Larga is that it multiplies on the shore, not on the ice. Females bring cubs and feed them only on the shores of uninhabited Islands of the far Eastern marine reserve. Last autumn, we installed cameras on one of the reserve's Islands, which allow us to observe the largae in real time. Thanks to this, we were able for the first time in the world to combine observational and experimental studies, to compare the behavior of women in labor in the reserve and our barbarians.

Jupiter hasn't eaten his mother's milk in days. It faded and became the same silver–gray as his parents. Cooking with pleasure compensates for weight loss – in her diet pink salmon, squid, herring, shrimp.

In addition to Jupiter and Vari in the seaside aquarium live four Largs: Socrates, Plato, Kant and Dulcinea. Since 2015, scientific work has been conducted with marine mammals, including in the field of zoopsychology. For example, scientists were able to determine that interhemispheric asymmetry is inherent not only to man – the largae are also right-handed and left-handed.

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