Our seals

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.

About our seals

The Storkobben Bella is on land and looking into the camera. Photo.

Bella

Bella is Polarias Grand Old Mom and was born in May 2003 in Spitsbergen. She likes new challenges and can be very energetic, but is at the same time determined and shows clearly when she is bored during exercise. You will recognize her from the big mustache and the grey fur with a big bright spot on the middle of her back. Bella belongs to the species Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus).
The Arctic Storkobben may San is on land and looking into the camera. Photo.

Mai San

Like Bella, Mai San is also born in Spitsbergen in May 2003, and she is far more patient than her stepsister. She is dutiful but sometimes gets a little confused during the training sessions. That's why her nickname is "Oisann." (Meaning: "Oops") Mai San is also a Bearded Seal and is characterized by her big mustache, pink rings around the eyes, white around the mouth and gray fur.
Selen Lyra looks up from the water, against the camera. Photo.

Lyra

Lyra is Polarias charmer and impossible not to love. She is kind and gentle, but becomes super-energetic during the trainings. Although she's a lot smaller than her two "aunts," she makes the biggest splashes when she jumps. Lyra was born July 10th 2010 at Lofotakvariet in Kabelvåg and lives here with her brother Loffen. You can recognise her from a bright star pattern behind each ear. Lyra belongs to the species Harbour seal (Phocavitulina).
The Steinkobben Loffen sticks his head out of the water. Photo.

Loffen

Loffen is a Harbour seal like his sister Lyra and was born only a week after her at Lofotakvariet in Kabelvåg. He is confident and very curious about his surroundings. Loffen loves training and learns new exercises quickly. He's got a lot of bright dots all over his body.
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