New England Aquarium seals get in Halloween spirit

Trainers provide enrichment with pumpkin painting

BOSTON, MASS. (October 30, 2020) – In celebration of Halloween, the New England Aquarium’s animal care team is providing enrichment for the Atlantic harbor seals with pumpkin painting.

This enrichment gives seals an opportunity to try something new and different. Aquarium trainers teach the seals behaviors that engage their minds, in this case helping staff decorate pumpkins that will be on exhibit over the weekend. Chacoda, a male harbor seal, was particularly inquisitive and truly embraced the Halloween spirit. Chacoda’s trainers chose the colors and he chose the design. Visitors to the Aquarium can see the pumpkins as well as jack-o-lanterns carved by staff members on display through the weekend.

Atlantic harbor seals are one of the most common marine mammals along the East Coast. The species was hunted to the brink of extinction before receiving federal protection under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. The harbor seals at the New England Aquarium engage with staff in training and enrichment sessions every day in their open-air exhibit.

**PHOTOS AND VIDEO OF CHACODA AND HIS TRAINERS AVAILABLE HERE**

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pam Bechtold Snyder, psnyder@neaq.org; 617-686-5068