INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (KMOX) — Cri Cri, the third harbor seal on her way to the St. Louis Zoo has died. The 19-year-old was being cared for at Indianapolis Zoo after she developed problems while in transit from Storybook Gardens, a theme park in Canada.
Her death follows that of two other harbor seals Nunavut (12) and Atlantis (11) who died on Friday.
The three seals were part of a shipment of four adult harbor seals coming from Canada to join 11 sea lions in the Zoo’s new, 1.5-acre Sea Lion Sound exhibit, set to open June 30.
The remaining seal, Peanut (18) arrived in St. Louis on Saturday and continues to appear healthy and alert. She has begun a 30-day quarantine period, per standard practice at the Zoo for all new arrivals.
Cri Cri received extraordinary, round-the-clock treatment from the veterinary and animal care staff of the Indianapolis Zoo after she was taken to Indianapolis for medical care on Saturday.
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University will be doing a necropsy on Cri Cri. The St. Louis Zoo’s veterinary pathologist conducted a full necropsy on Nunavut and Atlantis after they arrived at the Zoo. The scientists involved in the necropsies will not know the ultimate cause of death until all testing is completed—a process that could take several weeks.
The Zoo was awarded all necessary permits for the transfer of these animals and had a detailed transport plan in place. All the animals were examined before departure and checked frequently while in transit. A highly experienced St. Louis Zoo curator accompanied the animals in transit and an experienced professional animal carrier was contracted to handle the transport in a specially-equipped, air-conditioned trailer.
“Cri Cri valiantly fought to live, and the Indianapolis Zoo medical staff worked heroically and continuously to save her, so we thank them for all they did during this trying period,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the St. Louis Zoo.
“Again, we offer our deepest sympathy to the staff of Storybook Gardens, who asked us to provide a home for four harbor seals that they could no longer keep, and to the citizens of London, Ontario, who clearly loved these seals.
“We hope to learn the cause of death for these animals–something that remains unknown at this time. We did everything we possibly could to ensure the safety and comfort of these animals. There is always some risk inherent in any animal transport, but our Zoo completes approximately 200 animal transports annually with no problems, so this has been a very troubling and tragic event for all involved.”
About Saint Louis Zoo The Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education. The Zoo attracts 3,000,000 visitors each year.
About Storybook Gardens Owned and operated by the City of London, Ontario, Canada, Storybook Gardens theme park provides families with fun and special memories to last a lifetime with attractions for the whole family, including Old McDonald’s farm, rides, games, play areas, entertainment, face painting and beautiful gardens.