The training and feeding of our four seals is one of Polarias most popular attractions. Training is important to stimulate and develope the animals, and to enhance positive behavior. The animals are very playful and in our underwater tunnel you can study their graceful movements through the water.
The four seals living at Polaria are from two different species. The Bearded Seals Bella and Mai San belong to a purely Arctic species, and came to us from Svalbard in 2003. They have since been joined by the two Harbour Seals; Loffen and Lyra, who were born at Lofotakvariet in 2010.
On Polaria we train the harnesses in connection with feeding. Trained animals are better in captivity than untrained animals and our main intention of training is to stimulate the animals both mentally and physically, as well as to practice the seals in performing veterinary exercises that allow zookeepers and veterinarians to investigate whether the animals are healthy and in good shape. This involves everything from tooth brushing to blood tests.
When we train the animals we use a method called training with positive reinforcement. This means that we reward the seals with fish and praise when they perform the behaviors correctly and ignore them for a few seconds when they make mistakes.