A Snow Kiss
Remember all that snow that fell last weekend? There’s a cute side to it, promise. Check out this impromptu video shot by our marine mammal staff!
Chi (pronounced Chee), a 4-year-old Northern fur seal, was having fun romping in some of newly fallen snow. On his way back into the water, he spontaneously grabbed a little smooch from a marine mammal trainer!
A Snow Kiss from Chi
Rescued as a pup in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in 2013, Chi is clearly a character. The nearly 100-pound, juvenile male is a staff favorite. Shooting the video is senior marine mammal supervisor Patty Schilling, who can be heard off camera asking, “Chi, what is on your face?” With his belly and long whiskers covered in a wet snow, Chi used his large front flippers to amble about the deck, but on his way, he passes Terra Holovacs, a marine mammal trainer who is kneeling while working with another seal off camera. Chi then planted an unplanned seal-snout-to-human-nose kiss on Terra, and she nonchalantly said “Hi” to him as he then entered the water. Chi is described by staff as an outgoing fellow who genuinely likes to greet other seals, sea lions, and people. Schilling explained, “Chi was doing his sniff greeting but often makes contact with our face when doing so.”
Northern fur seals are listed as “vulnerable” internationally. They have the second thickest fur in the animal world, second only to sea otters. With such luxurious coats, they are not dependent on blubber like most other seal species to stay warm in the frigid water. Northern fur seals can be found throughout the north Pacific, but their population is centered in the waters of southern Alaska.