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Mums give Pool seal of approval

Mums give Pool seal of approval

Posted: 19-May-2006

AFTER working with aquatic animals for 40 years, Spencer Pickering knows loads about seals. He started his long and happy career at the oceanarium at Tweed Heads at the age of 11 but he has seen few years to match this one. 
It has been a bumper breeding year at the Pet Porpoise Pool, with the birth of two seal pups within a month of each other.
Last week a new male seal pup made his debut, taking the Australian sea lion population at the Porpoise Pool to 11 in total, and it is now at its maximum capacity, but out of those only three are breeding males.
So far, all the seals that have been born at the Porpoise Pool are still resident there and an important part of the breeding program is the monitoring of the bloodline.
"This year has been a good year for seal pups," Mr Pickering said.
"Now it will be another 18 months to two years before the next pup will be born here."
Sea lions live for about 25 years and the Porpoise Pool's oldest seals, Nikki (female), Hercules and Solomon, are now 21, 20 and 18 years respectively.
Nikki's claim to fame is that she is the oldest living captive-born female in the world. Two of the first seals at the pool were Sunny and Frisco, who both died at age 23.
Tasco, a male who was born three years ago, may be swapped at some stage in the future for another male to introduce new blood into the breeding stock.
The female seal pup, April, born a month ago, will probably stay in Coffs Harbour unless another oceanarium wants a female breeder for new bloodlines.
The breeding program makes seals available to other oceanariums and zoos throughout the world, though the Coffs Harbour Porpoise Pool prefers to send their seals within Australia because the standards and regulations overseas are not always up to scratch.
"Sometimes conditions are sub-standard or the trainers might not handle the animals properly," Mr Pickering said.
Oceanariums and zoos in Australia are strictly monitored and there are controls in place for transferring animals.
The Pet Porpoise Pool goes through about 120kg of fish per day to feed the seals.
An adult female consumes 4.5kg while a male eats 9kg. An adult male Australian sea lion can weigh up to 300kg, but at the moment the males at the Porpoise Pool weigh around 220kg.

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I seen Bucky on sash on TV just now. What an amazing spirit. I feel blessed to be kissed by a trooper. Xoxo thank you Greg for sharing an amazing dolphin. I work with Fuji and I am glad we have a photo booth for people to keep the memories. Sometimes it is all you have. I love my kiss picture with Bucky. Thank you for your photo. Paige Sinclair CEO..

Katherine Thompson

This was my last visit to The pet Porpoise pool 35 years ago I was 7. we used to go every year when I was little and my grandmother getting kissed by a seal was the highlight of the day. I loved feeding the fairy penguins and my dream is to one day swim with the dolphins. I would love to win passes to marine magic to experience it again with my family. What great memories Katherine, we hope to w..


My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..


Every time I come to Coffs Harbour I visit marine magic! My family and I can’t get enough of these beautiful animals. Can’t wait to bring my partner this year so he can experience why I love it so much. Thank you Georgia, we look forward to welcoming you back to the park!..

Karen Purchase

I went up there nearly 2 yrs now after I turned 50. I had received money for my birthday and decided I wanted to do the “trainer for the day” experience. Was the best thing I have ever done in my life, seeing the behind the scene as well getting up and close to all the animals, my favourite parts were taking Elle for her walk around park twice, involved in show, and of course my experiences wi..

Bianca W

Thank you for our tour of your park. We have attended 3 times within the last 11years and have found this way was an amazing way to get up close with the animals and learn more about them. Our guide had lots of information to share and was very good at engaging with the children in the group. Highly recommend. We attended on the 14/7/20 Thank you for taking the time to share your lat..


My son had a brilliant dolphin swim with Trainer Stacey yesterday morning. Stacey was fun, informative and professional and zippy the dolphin was the perfect student loved loved our morning with these beautiful animals Thank you for your lovely feedback Jo, we will let Stacy & Zippy know!..

Diane Binks

Had a great visit to DMCP on Tuesday 30/6/2020, we had an escorted tour of the park with a very informative guide showing us around the park. This visit was very different to our normal visits but my granddaughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit! Thank you to all the wonderful people at the DMCP, you are all amazing! Hi Diane, Thank you for your lovely feedback, this is new to all..

Sharon Page

I took my two youngest grandchildren there in July 2018, they both loved it and still talk about it to this day, so we are planning to return with my oldest grandchild as well. They don't like the drive from Sydney, but they do love it there so it makes it worth the trip. Great place, educational and fun. Thank you Sharon, we look forward to seeing you again..

Sharon Fisher

My husband, daughter and my two grandchildren are driving up from Forster on the 26/06/20 to spend the weekend in Coffs Harbour for a getaway weekend.. My daughter , a single mum has just passed her paramedic course and is now in placement in Tea-gardens. She has been so flat out working 12hr shifts. So the reason to get them away for some quality time . I would love to surprise my grandbabies..

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