Babyface, the oldest captive common seal in Europe still has his mojo, after fathering a pup at 37.
The 37-years-old seal is one of the oldest residents at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, and has defied the best family planning tactics of his keepers to become a dad again for the second year running.
“He surprised us last year when one of our two females Sija gave birth,” said the Sanctuary’s animal care team leader Tamara Cooper.
“When he arrived from Colchester Zoo in 2010 we thought we we’re providing him with an ideal retirement home,” she added.
“At his ripe old age - over 80 in human terms - we assumed his breeding days were over, but while last year’s pup was unexpected, the latest arrival is a minor miracle.
“Our primary goal here is rescue, and we haven’t really got the capacity for breeding anyway, so Sija and older female Luna were both prescribed contraceptives following the birth of pup ‘Bo’ last June,” said Tamara.
“Either Babyface is a real superstud or they just weren’t effective.”
Any disappointment over the unplanned birth was banished the instant Tamara and her colleagues clapped eyes on the bonny new bundle.
He or she (gender has yet to be determined) follows mum Sija like a shadow, but is clearly fascinated by every new sight and experience.
Babyface, who lost an eye to infection many years ago, has now been exiled to the adjacent pool with son Bo.
“We’ll re-unite him with the rest of the family when the breeding season is over, and make sure he’s back with Bo well before the start of the next one,” added Tamara.