Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo welcomes new harbor seal

Sammye came from the Alaska Zoo in August and is the newest member of the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Sammye, a 1-year old female harbor seal is the newest arrival at the Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo.

Sammye came from the Alaska Zoo in August and has completed all of her health checks and is ready to join the two male harbor seals at the zoo. She was named after the founder of the Alaska Zoo, Sammye Seawell, who passed away last year.

Harbor seals, also known as common seals, spend about half of their time in the water and half on land. They have the widest distribution of any seal and live in both the North Atlantic and Northern Pacific oceans.

“Sammye is a great addition,” said Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz. “She is very curious and loves to explore. She will be easy for guests to identify right now because she is so much smaller than the two male seals, Sparky and Piper. Sammye is going to be a great animal ambassador for marine mammals.”

Sammye was brought to the zoo with funds raised last year on “Giving Tuesday,” a global day dedicated to giving back. The zoo was also able to bring six new flamingos, a camel, a bison, and several birds to Madison.

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