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?