July 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM ET
It all began with an arranged marriage. Ursula, a rare Northern fur seal, arrived at the New England Aquarium from New York as a young, 90-pound adult. There, according to a recent press release, she was introduced to Isaac, a "goofy" 300-pound adolescent from Seattle who zookeepers thought might make good father material.
Years (and a few pounds) later, Ursula welcomed the pair's first pup into the world. The 14-year-old gave birth last Tuesday evening to an 8-to-9 pound male.
This baby seal is more than just a first for his mother. The big, brown-eyed pup is also the New England Aquarium’s first birth in its breeding program for rare Northern fur seals (who were hunted nearly to extinction for their pelts) and the thirteenth Northern fur seal to reside in an American aquarium or zoo.
Ursula and her newborn are now enjoying some much needed behind-the-scenes bonding time before the pair must join the rest of the seal and sea lion colony at the facility. The yet-to-be-named infant will soon be on display with Leu, a rescued 1-year-old fur seal, and Zoe and Sierra, a pair of 2-year-old female sea lions.