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Feisty – the seal who escaped during Duluth flood – makes debut in New Mexico


Feisty – the seal who became famous overnight after escaping Duluth's Lake Superior Zoo during the historic 2012 flood – is settling into his new home in New Mexico.

The 25-year-old seal had been living at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul since the floods, and in November he was brought to the ABQ BioParkZoo, the City of Albuquerque says. He was on quarantine for a few weeks before moving into the zoo's Seals and Sea Lions exhibit, where he's living with three other seals and one sea lion.

"He's doing very well," said Shelly Dicks, ABQ BioPark zookeeper supervisor, said in the city's news release. "He's very mellow and laid back. While he was on quarantine, the trainers got to know him and his personality. He has a lot of trained behaviors, which makes him great to work with and very interactive."

But there's one big difference about the seal. Back when he was living in Duluth, Feisty was always called a she – the sister to Vivian, the Lake Superior Zoo's other seal, Forum News Service says.

Zookeepers in Duluth have thought Feisty was a girl since he arrived in Duluth in 1991 – there was nothing to indicate he wasn't, the news service notes. Seals' external genitalia is usually kept hidden, which can make it hard to determine their gender, and Feisty didn't show any mating behavior that would indicate he was a male.

When Feisty was living at the Como Zoo, zookeepers there discovered signs he was a male and informed Lake Superior Zoo.

The fact that Feisty was male is one reason he moved to Albuquerque. The zoo was looking to add a seal to exhibit – especially one that could be a potential mate for Gracie, another harbor seal, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Feisty, Vivian and Berlin the polar bear escaped their enclosures during the 2012 flood, and Feisty became famous when someone snapped a photo of the seal on Grand Avenue.

The animal's unique story has ABQ BioPark excited, the Albuquerque Journal notes, adding after his adventure someone made Twitter and Facebook accounts in honor of him.

“I don’t think a lot of seals have a back story like that,” ABQ BioPark zookeeper supervisor Shelly Dicks told the paper. “It’s quite unusual.”

Berlin is now living at the Kansas City Zoo, where he went in hopes of mating with another polar bear. But that hasn't happened, and his potential mate is moving to another zoo, the Duluth News Tribune recently reported.

Vivian had to be euthanized in 2013 following emergency exploratory surgery, reports note.

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