Valentine’s Day gets the FedEx seal of approval

Valentine’s Day gets the FedEx seal of approval

Ursula is part of the community of fur seals at the New England Aquarium

In time for Valentine’s Day, FedEx has brought together two rare northern fur seals as part of a breeding collaboration between the Seattle Aquarium and the New England Aquarium designed to increase the population.

Commander, a nearly 300-pound 11-year-old male northern fur seal, was transported via a donated FedEx flight from Seattle to Boston, in order to meet 16 year-old Ursula, one of the species’ last reproductively viable females in an American zoo or aquarium.

During his journey in a specially-designed enclosure, Commander was accompanied by his veterinarian and one of his trainers throughout his journey.   He will make his new home at the New England Aquarium, where he will be introduced to a community of fur seals, including Ursula.

“FedEx is committed to sustainability, and is grateful for the opportunity to play a role in this important initiative,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Express.  We wish the best for Commander and Ursula and commend the work of the Seattle and New England Aquariums in this effort.”

Northern fur seals, which have some of the thickest fur of any animal in the world, were once hunted for their pelts, but are now protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as a depleted species.

It is estimated there are about 666,000 northern fur seals in the wild, but that number is decreasing.  They can be found throughout the northern Pacific Rim, and their main breeding colonies are in the Pribilof and Commander Islands in the Bering Sea.