One of the oldest captive seals in the UK has become a father again at the age of 36.
Common seal Babyface – whose age is equivalent to 80 human years – fathered a pup with nine-year-old pool-mate Sija.
Staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary were surprised by the birth, having discovered Sija was pregnant only a few weeks ago.
Animal care team leader Tamara Cooper said: “I was shocked but delighted when I made my early morning rounds and found a beautiful newborn pup swimming around happily with her mum and dad.”
The sex of the new arrival is not yet known but will decide the seal’s future home.
“A girl would stay with us permanently, but if it’s a boy he will eventually need to move to another sanctuary to avoid conflict with Babyface,” Ms Cooper said.
In the meantime, the pup will feed on its mother’s milk for two to three weeks before being weaned on to fish.
Babyface moved to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in 2010 after 26 years at Colchester Zoo when his long-term partner Jasmine died.
Both he and Jasmine contracted eye infections and, while Babyface successfully had his left eye removed, Jasmine did not survive the operation.