Selkie, former Navy seal, dies at National Zoo

Selkie, the oldest gray seal living under human care, died Thursday, according to the National Zoo. She was 43.

Selkie was being treated for pain related to masses on her chest for months. A final pathology report will provide more details into her death.

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Selkie played a useful role during the Cold War. When she was six months old, she was trained by Navy researchers to perform underwater tasks including how to install and remove equipment, use a screwdriver and turn a large wheel valve.

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She was born in Iceland in 1973 and was considered a valuable breeder for U.S. zoos. She birthed four female pups, two of them Kara and Kjya, are still at the National Zoo.


Gray seals live about 25-30 years in the wild. They typically can be found along the east coast of Canada and as far south as New Jersey.

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