The Brookfield Zoo had something to celebrate this January along with the New Year—a gray seal was born at the west suburban zoo on Saturday.
Lily, an 11-year-old gray seal, gave birth to a female pup on Jan. 2, the Chicago Zoological Society’s first birth of the new year, according to a statement announcing the new arrival. The mother and daughter will remain behind the scenes for several weeks to allow them to bond.
The pup was born with a long, white fur called lanugo, which is molted in two to four weeks and replaced with the stiffer, shorter hair similar to that of adult seals.
The baby weighed just over 30 pounds at birth, and unlike those with New Year’s resolutions to slim down, she is expected to triple or quadruple her weight in the next month, according to the zoo. She will nurse for about three weeks, then be introduced to a fish diet.
Almost exactly one year ago, on New Year’s Day 2014, Lily gave birth to a male pup, Charles. He will be leaving Brookfield Zoo in the spring for another institution to be paired with a young female, so they can bond and eventually produce offspring.
Although gray seals are not threatened in the wild, there are only 24 gray seals in eight zoos.