This Memorial Day weekend, you can visit the zoo for the grand opening celebration of the newly-renovated Discovery Bay, and the public premiere of these critically endangered animals.
There are only 1,100 Hawaiian Monk Seals left in existence, and their numbers are declining by 4% every year. Having them here in Minnesota is very special: it’s the only place outside of Hawaii where we can view Monk Seals in human care. Monk Seals can live to be 25-30 years old, and the individuals at our zoo are around 19 years old.
The MN Zoo is offering a sanctuary for these non-releasable animals, and are committed to providing them with the highest possible quality of life. The girls are non-releasable, because they have vision impairments that would prevent them from being able to care for themselves in the wild. Ola (the first image below) is the only one with good vision, but there’s no guarantee she won’t develop issues later on. She’s quite vocal, and in addition to her (very) loud bellows, she often makes low, rhythmic thumping noises that radiate out into the water. Very cool to watch.
Going “behind the scenes” with these beautiful creatures was an amazing experience. A very big Thank You to the MN Zoo for this unique opportunity!
We watched while the seals had feeding time, and practiced some behaviors.
Also new to the zoo, are these Moon Jellies. Very difficult to photograph :)
After finishing up at Discovery Bay, we got to visit some of the other animals who live at the zoo:
If you’d like to get involved with the zoo and their conservation efforts, check out their website for information about the different options they have available.