Cornwall

Cornish seal Babyface is dad at 36

Pup with Sija
Image caption Proud mum Sija was spotted with the new seal which has not yet been named

One of Britain's oldest captive seals has become a father again.

Common seal Babyface, 36, whose age is equivalent to 80 human years, fathered a pup at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek.

Staff were surprised by the birth, having discovered mate 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."

Image caption Babyface fathered several seals at his former home, Colchester Zoo

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.

Babyface moved to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in 2010 after 26 years at Colchester Zoo where he had fathered several pups.

Both he and his Colchester partner Jasmine contracted eye infections and, while Babyface successfully had his left eye removed, Jasmine did not survive the operation.

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