Taronga Zoo’s leopard seal, Casey, the only one in human care in the world, has been receiving personal saxophone performances from a bebopping zookeeper as part of a research project.
Elephant-keeper Steve plays saxophone to Casey as part of the zoo’s “environmental enrichment program”, which aims to make the habitats more interesting for the enclosed animals. Part of the program also involves studying the seal’s reaction to different sounds.
“They are certainly aware of new noises, so something like the saxophone was a great way of giving our leopard seal some different environmental enrichment,” said marine mammals supervisor Ryan Tate. “At certain times of year they really react to the noises and sing back,” he added.
The Australian Marine Mammal Research Centre (AMMRC), which is based at Taronga Zoo, has been studying Casey since he was rescued near Sydney in 2005.
Mr Tate says leopard seals usually sing to attract mates and possibly as a way to mark their territory. There is no evidence to suggest they have favourite tunes, though QOTSA’s latest I Sat By The Ocean probably strikes a chord.
(Via ABC News)
Watch: Taronga Zoo’s Leopard Seal Serenaded By A Saxaphone