Squeegee the seal dies at 31, zoo says

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - THE DISTRICT BY MARTIN WEIL martin.weil@wash­post.com

Some­times news from the zoo lifts our spir­its, as when we learned of the re­turn last week of Ol­lie, the wan­der­ing bob­cat.

But life be­ing what it is, sad news also em­anates from the com­pound on Con­necti­cut Av­enue. Such news in­cludes the re­port of the death Wed­nes­day of Squeegee, the har­bor seal.

Squeegee, 31, was liv­ing out his golden years on the zoo’s Amer­i­can Trail. His death fol­lowed a di­ag­nos­tic pro­ce­dure, the zoo said Fri­day.

The life­time of a har­bor seal runs for about 25 years in the wild, the zoo said, and more than 30 un­der hu­man care.

The be­whiskered crea­tures weigh as much as 230 pounds and live on both the East and West coasts of this coun­try. They swim in San Fran­cisco Bay.

Squeegee him­self was a New Jer­sey seal. He spent years in an aquar­ium in Cam­den be­fore com­ing here about four years ago.

Why he was dubbed Squeegee was un­clear, but it is not im­pos­si­ble that it was linked to one of the com­po­nents of his diet: squid.

Af­ter blood re­cently ap­peared in his urine, the zoo had watched him closely for sev­eral weeks.

On Wed­nes­day, he went un­der anes­the­sia, per­mit­ting vet­eri­nar­i­ans to find sev­eral kid­ney stones, the zoo said. Anal­y­sis of his blood showed that his kid­neys had been com­pro­mised. Dur­ing re­cov­ery, the zoo said, he stopped breath­ing and went into car­diac ar­rest.

At­tempts at re­sus­ci­ta­tion were un­avail­ing, and the zoo lost an an­i­mal it de­scribed as “a ter­rific am­bas­sador for his species.”

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