Red, harbor seal, passes away

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Red, harbor seal, passes away


 Long-time zoo resident Red the harbor seal passes away.

Red, Harbor Seal, Passes Away
Longtime resident of Blank Park Zoo was a favorite of keepers

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For Immediate Release

Des Moines (December 18, 2012) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo has lost Red, a 27 year-old harbor seal during anesthesia for a veterinary procedure on Friday. Trainers described Red as a laid-back, friendly animal that always participated in training sessions. In fact, he was so well-mannered that he was the first animal many keepers would train when they started working at Blank Park Zoo.

“It is always difficult to lose an animal, especially one as wonderful as Red. To lose one during a medical procedure that was intended to help him is especially devastating,” said June Olds, zoo veterinarian.

Red recently exhibited a loss of appetite, weight-loss, showed signs of abdominal pain and was unable to keep food down. X-rays confirmed that Red had foreign bodies in his stomach, and a procedure was performed under anesthesia to remove them. Olds said that marine mammals like seals and sea lions face a greater risk from anesthesia than most animals because of how their bodies process oxygen and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, Red stopped breathing during the procedure, and despite efforts to resuscitate him, he never recovered.

“Our hearts go out to all the staff, especially the aquatics team that worked closely with this amazing animal,” said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation.

Red came to Blank Park Zoo on May 13, 1986 from Sea World in San Diego, California. Earlier this year, Blank Park Zoo opened the new $1.3 million Hub Harbor Seal & Sea Lion Pool and welcomed two young harbor seals to the pool, Ross & Meru, rescued animals form Vancouver. The median life expectancy of a harbor seal is 25.9 years.

About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week this winter. The Zoo will be closed Dec. 24 & 25, & Jan. 1. Winter Admission rates are $7 for adults, $3 for children under 12, and $6 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.




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