MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) -- There are two new reasons to visit Mystic Aquarium; two northern fur seals have arrived and they are already warming up the crowds.
Sam and Jack, two northern fur seals just arrived at Mystic Aquarium.
"They're pretty cool. I like their tricks," said Cristian Bonilla.
Cool to look at but actually quite warm. Perfect for the outdoor Pacific Northwest habitat exhibit. The seals have the second thickest coat of all animals, second only to the sea otter.
"They have 300,000 hairs per square inch," said Laurie Macha, Mystic Aquarium. "They have two parts to their fur. They have a beautiful under fur which is light brown in color and no water gets to their skin. And then they have a darker brown guard hair."
The thick coat made them a target for years until the 1911 fur act protected the population. Still the numbers have declined since the 50's and the seals usually found further north are designated as 'depleted' under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Sam and Jack, the nine and 10 year old brothers came from New York Aquarium on a breeding loan.
"Right now they're not breeding, but their time may come," said Macha.
"Would they do it here, would you bring a female back," asked News 8's Tina Detelj.
"Yes it's very possible," said Macha.
Mystic Aquarium is one of just four aquariums throughout the country which has these seals. All together there are only about a dozen in captivity in the U.S.
Mystic Aquarium hasn't had fur seals since 2009 when it loaned out its own three for breeding purposes. A process that can take years.
"We're helping to contribute to the breeding consortium," Macha said. "It's nice to have them back though we love having fur seals."
And so do many folks happy to be entertained by Sam and Jack.
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