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February 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM

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Chewbacca, the new star at the Seattle Aquarium


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Chewbacca, a northern fur seal, is on public view but in quarantine for 30 days after arriving at the Seattle Aquarium on Tuesday from an aquarium in Galveston, Texas. Strong and elegant swimmers, fur seals propel themselves with their front flippers and steer with their rear flippers.

Chewbacca's daily diet has been herring, squid, mackerel and capelin. He is one of only 11 northern fur seals in zoos and aquariums in the United States. Northern fur seals live in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. Current populations in the Eastern Pacific are listed as "depleted." Northern fur seals are protected from being hunted except by indigenous peoples in the North Pacific.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A 250-pound male born 12 years ago at the New York Aquarium, Chewbacca was brought to Seattle to provide companionship for tank mate Commander.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Chewbacca is visited on his debut in public by a children's group at Seattle Aquarium. There's an underwater view and topside view of his 65,000-gallon tank.

Duplicate of the Video Hub player - used for testing purposes only.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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In the ocean this is one of the most playful and happiest animals you will ever see. MORE

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