Meet Bixby, the first seal born at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The nearly four-month-old harbor seal made her debut today joining the other animals in the Aquarium’s Seal & Sea Lion Habitat. The Aquarium revealed that City of Long Beach employees had suggested names for the seal pup, and Long Beach City Councilmembers voted on the final name. The name Bixby was suggested by City of Long Beach employee Marina Ohlson Smorick in honor of historical figure Jotham Bixby “The Father of Long Beach.” “We are proud of the name our City has given to our first-born seal. When people visit Bixby, we hope they become inspired to help protect our urban ocean,” said Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO. 

 The young female seal has been growing behind the scenes and now weighs approximately 50 pounds. When Aquarium biologists moved Bixby into her new permanent home today, the seal was immediately met by the other seals and sea lions. The Aquarium’s harbor seals Shelby and Troy are the parents of the seal pup, which was born on April 26, 2012 and weighed about 20 pounds at birth. Shelby came to the Aquarium in 1998. Troy, the Aquarium’s only male harbor seal, came to the Aquarium in 2007. Female harbor seals typically give birth to young starting at four to five years of age.Shelby is sixteen years old, and this is her first pup. Shortly after birth, the seal pup and mother were moved behind the scenes for bonding and nursing. More recently the pup was introduced to solid foods and began learning behaviors to aid Aquarium biologists in caring for her as preparation for joining the other animals inside the Seal & Sea Lion Habitat.

 In addition to seeing Bixby inside the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat, the public also has the chance to help seals and other marine life in local waters by recycling used fishing line in the new REEL Recycling Display. It is estimated that ingestion of and entanglement in marine debris, including abandoned fishing line, causes the deaths of more than one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. This debris can also cause damage to boat propellers and clog seawater intakes, causing costly engine damage and becoming a safety hazard, according to NOAA. Long Beach Councilmember Gerrie Schipske has been leading efforts to promote the recycling of fishing line to help local wildlife and boaters. The public is encouraged to recycle used fishing lines through REEL Recycling Displays located throughout Long Beach, including now at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

 The Aquarium is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily and until 9 p.m. during Discounted Late Nights (seal viewing is best during daylight hours). Aquarium admission is $25.95 adults 12+, $22.95 seniors 62+, $14.95 per child (ages 3-11), and free to Aquarium members and children under age three. Admission during Discounted Late Nights is $14.95 per person from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (on August 22-24, 26-29, and September 1-2, 2012). The Aquarium is located at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit institution, is dedicated to creating and building natural capital (nature and its resources) by building social capital (relationships between and among people). Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. It is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and a place where important topics facing our planet and our ocean are explored by scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions. For more information, the public can visit or call 562-590-3100.

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