The St. Louis Zoo was expecting the arrival of four harbor seals in time for the June 30th opening of the new “Sea Lion Sound” exhibit, but two of the sea lions died in the trip and had to be left at the Indianapolis Zoo as it was in need of medical treatment as well.
We guess hitchhiking from Canada isn’t as safe as it used to be.
The animals, two mother-daughter pairs, were examined before departure and checked frequently while in transit, said Steve Bircher, curator of mammals at the St. Louis Zoo.
They were doing well as they passed through U.S. Customs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspections about noon on Friday.
Two hours later, they were checked again and appeared healthy. However, at the next check point, one hour and 45 minutes later, one of the younger females was not responsive, prompting Bircher, who was accompanying the animals, to contact the nearest zoo—the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
The Fort Wayne veterinarian confirmed that one seal was dead and another one of the younger seals was showing signs of distress. The transport team and Fort Wayne veterinary staff were unable to save the second animal.
Everything was going great until one of the transportation staff mentioned they were going to St. Louis in front of the seals…and that’s when the suicide pact started.
Can you imagine that drive? Things are going great and then your animal cargo starts dropping like flies?! It had to be pretty tense in that truck for the last few hours. Hell, everyone knows the first rule of a road trip is to avoid “breaking the seal” as long as possible. Once you do, you’ll be making all kinds of stops the rest of the way!