Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Endangered seals could replace dolphins at Minnesota Zoo

Author:

Officials at the Minnesota Zoo say a group of endangered seals may replace the zoo's popular dolphins.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is looking for a place for orphaned Hawaiian monk seals that suffer from health problems that prevent a return to the wild, Zoo director Lee Ehmke told MPR. Minnesota is a long way from Hawaii, but Ehmke said the Zoo might be a good fit.

The Hawaiian monk seals are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Only about 1,100 are left in the world, Ehmke said.

"What is happening out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that's causing this is sort of a big mystery," he told MPR.

Ehmke said the zoo could seek up to $26 million from the Minnesota Legislature for exhibit upgrades. Some of the money could be used to upgrade Discovery Bay, which had held the dolphin collection.

Here's more about the seals in an 8-minute video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

The zoo ended its dolphin program last year after six dolphins died in its care. It was a controversial closure, as some lawmakers said zoo officials had not been upfront about their plans to close the dolphin exhibit as they sought more zoo funding.

The zoo's last two remaining dolphins found new homes in Chicago and Oakland last fall, MPR reported.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 7.59.52 AM

More than 2 years after announcing, Duck Donuts finally opens at MOA

The grand opening of the new location took place Wednesday.

unsplash - school girl students

St. Paul is closing 6 schools amid declining enrollment

The board revised the plan after the school communities voiced concerns.

Karl-Anthony Towns

X-rays negative after Karl-Anthony Towns takes scary fall

Towns crashed hard to the ground late in the game Wednesday night.

Minneapolis police

2 more homicides push Minneapolis closer to record set in 1995

The deadly shootings happened on the city's North Side Wednesday night.

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Related

Stingrays may replace dolphins at Minnesota Zoo

Schools of fish and stingrays will likely replace dolphins at the Minnesota Zoo, at least in the short term, MPR reports. The zoo decided this spring it would no longer house dolphins after one died in February, leaving only two in the collection.

Dolphins leaving Minnesota Zoo

Allie and Selmo were originally going to be sent to another facility while their tank at Discovery Bay was being renovated. However, zoo officials said in a letter that "due to the low availability of dolphins and the urgency of other zoo development priorities ... we do not foresee exhibiting dolphins in the building's aquatic environments."

Minnesota Zoo puts on last dolphin show

The dolphin show at the Minnesota Zoo is no more. Friday marked the final day for dolphin shows at the zoo after 35 years of performances. Organizers say that the two remaining dolphins -- Allie and Selmo -- will be moving to a new, undetermined location. While the shows are done, the zoo is starting a "Farewell Week" Saturday, where people can stop by to view the dolphins and see them interact with trainers.

Minnesota Zoo plans final farewell for dolphins

Visitors have until Sept. 9 to say goodbye to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins Allie and Semo, the Star Tribune reports. The Apple Valley zoo's Discovery Bay exhibit, which houses the dolphins, is closing for a major $4 million facelift.

Zoo CEO: No way to save dolphin exhibit

Minnesota Zoo CEO and Director Lee Ehmke is trying to clarify why the zoo will soon discontinue its dolphins exhibition. There are two main reasons, he said, "the welfare of the two beloved dolphins currently at the zoo, and the fiscal and logistical challenges of acquiring a viable dolphin group to replace them." There are just "no viable" options to keep it going, he said.

Endangered dhole pups at the Minnesota Zoo

Zoo officials say the Asian wild dogs were born April 12 and 14, but an exact count is still unknown. The dhole pups are expected to spend more time outside their den in the coming weeks at the Apple Valley zoo.