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Weddell seal adult and pup lounge on ice.
Photo Credit: Jason Jones/Weddell Seal Science blog
 

Maternal milestone

29-year-old Weddell seal gives birth to 20th pup

Talk about a super mom. Researchers involved in a long-term population study of Weddell seals near the U.S. Antarctic Program's McMurdo Station External U.S. government site recently reported that it had found a 29-year-old mother that had given birth to her 20th pup (pictured above).

The prolific parent is one of the oldest Weddell seal females in the project's 44-year-long database. Females generally live for about 15 years, giving birth to an average of two pups every three years. The population study of the world's most southerly breeding mammal population is led by Robert Garrott and Jay Rotella External Non-U.S. government site, professors in the Department of Ecology at Montana State University External Non-U.S. government site, and Don Siniff External Non-U.S. government site, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota External Non-U.S. government site.

"This is a special female," Rotella said on the Weddell Seal Science blog External Non-U.S. government site, maintained by videographer Mary Lynn Price External Non-U.S. government site who supports the education and outreach component of the Weddell seal population dynamics study.

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Curator: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Support Contract | NSF Official: Winifred Reuning, Division of Polar Programs