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  • They're intelligent, playful and can perform impressive tricks.

  • But this kind of performance has taken these seals and their trainers a lot of hard work!

  • Trainer: So are you ready for him to come over to the front? Ready?

  • [Audience] “YES!”

  • Trainer: All right then, over to the front we goall the way over there Mali

  • Taronga Zoo has several seal trainers including Elly.

  • Trainer: 1, 2, 3 [Audience yells something]

  • The animals really are watching our body language and our body signals, so they're all trained

  • to respond to a cue or a signal, and that could be something as simple as a tap of our

  • foot, or it can be as obvious as a wave.

  • One technique Elly uses is target training.

  • So to train a wave is a lot of little steps, so we'll start of by touching her flipper,

  • good girl, and every time we touch her flipper she gets a fish. Then what will happen is

  • she'll move her flipper to touch her hand like that, touch her hand, touch her hand,

  • (this is an old one for you) and that's how we get a wave!

  • So just through all those little steps.

  • It's genius isn't it?

  • It is quite genius isn't it Maya.

  • [Seal makes raspberry sound]

  • Now Maya wasn't just being cheeky! If you were looking closely enough, you might have

  • noticed Elly's cue!

  • As much as I'd like to be a seal trainer, I can't simply do a cue and expect Maya to

  • follow it. But if Elly walks in dressed in her zoo outfit and with fish on her belt and

  • does the cue, off she goes!

  • Seals use their sensitive whiskers to feel for objects like when balancing a ball on

  • their nose. But these kinds of tricks can take a while to master.

  • Some behaviours can take two days, a behaviour like a ball balance can take up to two years.

  • Trainer: Lets see how he goes [Audience cheers]

  • Trainer: How about that! Very Good Mali.

  • Pretty Impressive?

  • It was really astonishing how they can just move the animals

  • around by their signals that they use.

  • My favourite part was balancing the ball on the nose.

  • Yeah it looks like they had practiced it for months and months.

  • The seal show isn't just about entertainment, it also teaches people on how we can help

  • seals survive in the wild.

  • I think the biggest message for kids today is that one of the greatest threats to marine

  • animals is that we're eating the same food that they are and there's just not enough

  • for everyone.

  • The reality is if seals can't find any fish, they often try stealing them from fishing nets.

  • Trainer: It's a very, very sad ending. Bit of a drama queen, but you get the idea.

  • That doesn't mean you have to stop eating seafood. You can find this logo at shops and

  • restaurants, which means the fish has come from a certified sustainable source.

  • Whether the seals are on stage as teachers or as entertainers, the trainers make sure

  • they're always being treated with love and respect.

  • They do want to come out, they do enjoy it, it's very stimulating, it's very enriching.

  • But there are days just like us that they don't wanna get out of bed and we respect

  • that as well and they can just have a day, chilling out with their friends in the pool.

  • And part of their job is building a strong relationship with their finned and flippered friends!

They're intelligent, playful and can perform impressive tricks.

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Seal Show - Behind the News

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