St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A third harbor seal died Wednesday while being transported to the Saint Louis Zoo, days after two other seals passed away in transit.
Cri Cri, 19, was being cared for by veterinary and animal care staff at the Indianapolis Zoo after developing problems being transported from a theme park in London, Ontario, Canada to the Saint Louis Zoo.
Cri Cri was part of a shipment of four adult harbor seals being moved from Canada to join 11 sea lions in the Saint Louis Zoo's new Sea Lion Sound exhibit, which opens June 30. Twelve-year-old Nunavut and 11-year-old Atlantis died Friday, June 8.
The fourth seal, 18-year-old Peanut, arrived in St. Louis on June 9. The seal, while appearing healthy, has been placed in 30-day quarantine, a standard zoo procedure for all new arrivals.
The zoo was awarded proper permits for the seal's transfer and had a detailed transport plan, examining all animals frequently while in transit.
"There is always some risk inherent in animal transport, but our Zoo completes approximately 200 animal transports annually with no problems, so this has been a very troubling and tragic event for all of us," said Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo.
The Saint Louis Zoo's veterinary pathologist conducted a full necropsy on Nunavut and Atlantis after they arrived at the Zoo on June 9. The College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University will be doing a necropsy on Cri Cri.
The cause of death will not be known until all tests are complete, a process that could take several weeks.