Meet Toby -- or at least see him in swimming action -- when he makes his Aquarium of the Pacific debut on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Toby is the first Harbor Seal male to be born at the Long Beach institution.
Someone, somewhere, right this minute, some place along the California coast, is pointing at the ocean's surface and saying "look, look, look!" to their companions. That person has spotted a harbor seal, those canine-like, whisker-sweet clowns of our coastal waters, and they want everyone else in their party to enjoy the not-rare but always lively sight of a harbor seal splashing about.
The Aquarium of the Pacific knows a thing or two about the harbor seals' enduring popularity. The instition's Seal & Sea Lion Habitat is home to a clutch of harbor seals, with a new young'un set to move in on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
Name? Toby. We'll pause so you may "awww" unabated.
Eight-year-old Lola Castorina of Los Angeles named Toby through the institution's Adopt an Animal program. Nicely done, Lola; Toby is a perfectly playful moniker for a harbor seal pup.
The pup, which was born to Shelby and Troy last spring, has a rather special designation: He's the first male harbor seal born at the Long Beach aquarium. His sister Bixby was born last year.
Toby makes his habitat debut at 9 a.m. on Aug. 14. Aquarium staff confirm he's gained "over 30 pounds since he was born" on May 1. He now clocks in, scale-wise, at around 70 pounds, but Toby has a way to go in the putting-on-weight department: Fully grown harbor seal males can easily surpass 300 pounds.
It's a nice and Golden-State-y thing, right? That we can head down to the water's edge and possibly spy a pinniped's dog-cute face bobbing in and out of the waves. Or we can make for the Aquarium of the Pacific to see Toby and his family at close-range, doing that playful thing that harbor seals do so well. So well, in fact, they should just patent the whole "bobbing-about-acting-cute" thing.
The patent office accepts submissions from marine mammals, right? Or are we thinking of the animated blockbuster we saw?