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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..

Jody Hunt

I have been saying for years that I have wanted to visit Coffs Harbour since learning about Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. We finally were able to visit last Thursday and it was an even greater experience than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. From the amazing staff that made us feel so welcome, and the obvious passion and care for their animals and allowing such a hands on experienc..

Chrisavalanti manolakis

I got the opprotunity to swim with amazing jett last year. He was all over me and little did I know I was actually pregnant! One year later we are bringing our beautiful boy to come visit my good old friend jett in the next fortnight. Can't wait to reunite with all the gang. Such an amazing park and outrun sea world any day Thank you, we look forward to welcoming you all back here ag..

Sumit Thapa

Our 2 kids under 3 and 5 had great fun watching the dolphins, penguins, turtles and the seal. We arrived around 1.30 as we travelled all the way from Sydney and missed all the big shows but kids still looked so excited just watching the animals play free. Staff were very lovely and caring and they seemed to have real love and passion towards what they do which was great to see. We hope to retu..

Leah Cunningham

I would like to thank the staff at the park. My son swam with the dolphins today and had the most wonderful experience. Something he will never forget made his dreams come true. Thank you Leah that is so great to hear :)..

Emma Baker

My son and I came to visit the park in January, it was my sons second visit to the park we came in 2012 when he was 1, the smile on my son’s face during the show and seeing all the animals was well worth the 5 hour drive to get there, while sitting in the grandstand watching the show I heard about the in the water hugs with the seal so I thought to myself why not and I paid for my 8 years old ..

Rob Brigden

My wife and I are on a two week working holiday in Coffs Harbour and we are trying to see some of Coffs while we are here. Yesterday we walked from our accommodation to the Jetty Markets and were a little disappointed. Walking back to our resort, we passed the dolphins conservation park. My wife said "Would you like to go and have a look?" I didn't immediately know what the facility was. I was..

Shana Ghadially

Pet porpoise pool holds a special memory for our family. Our 6 year old daughter was thrilled as she had the experience of brushing the dolphin's teeth. And our four month old couldn't have dreamt in his wildest dreams that he was being kissed by a seal! we don't need the pics to remind us of those memories ... they are etched in our minds. It was a brilliant holiday we had at Coffs Harbour , ..

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