The death of Lenny the seal at the seal facility in Memorial University’s Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) in Logy Bay has saddened staff, the university says in a news release.
The harp seal Millennium, nicknamed Lenny, seen in this file photo from the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay, died on Thursday. — MUN photo
Millennium, nicknamed Lenny, passed away Thursday.
Danielle Nichols, research marketing manager at the OSC and co-ordinator of the facility’s public education program, said that with upwards of 20,000 people stopping by to visit the seals during the summer months, the loss of Lenny and, last year, his brother Jamie, will have a substantial impact on the program.
“Some of the people who come here have been doing so for almost two decades,” Nichols said. “They know each of the seals by name and by their personalities.
“Lenny always had to know what was going on and often would get into things he shouldn’t. He was very mischievous.”
Lenny was one of four harp seals at the seal facility. Lenny was born in captivity on March 8, 2000.
Memorial University’s veterinarian and director of animal care, Dr. Jennifer Keyte, is involved in the investigation to determine cause of death.
The aim is to try to identify if there is anything of an infectious nature that may be a concern for the health of the remaining seals.
OSC is the only facility in the world with resident harp seals in an enriched environment. The centre’s seal research programs over the years have been related to behaviour and studies of how harp seals learn and make choices. However, the OSC seals are now retired from the research program.