“I couldn’t believe it:” Harbor seal at Milwaukee County Zoo is melting hearts, making friends

MILWAUKEE -- One of the animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo is quickly becoming a crowd favorite. Cossette, a harbor seal, is melting hearts and making friends.

Curiosity draws many to the zoo to stare in wonder at some of the world's unusual creatures. In Milwaukee, one of those animals likes to do the same.

"I couldn't believe it," said 6-year-old Emma, visitor.

Cossette, a female harbor seal

Three-year-old Cossette was born in Alaska. The harbor seal was moved to Milwaukee to find a mate -- but the young pup is far more interested in making friends, human friends.

Cossette, a female harbor seal

"I think it was very fun and funny, and amazing," said 8-year-old Oliver, visitor.

Cossette loves to play, especially with kids. Follow the leader seems to be her favorite game. She also loves tag and spinning in circles -- games this silly seal picked up on her own.

"No, not at all -- we did not train this. They just choose to do this on their own because they enjoy it," said Dawn Fleuchaus, Area Supervisor North American Exhibit.

Cossette, a female harbor seal

Cossette, a female harbor seal

Keepers hope these special moments will encourage more public support and global conservation.

"If you make a connection, hopefully you will be inspired to protect these animals and their habitat, and hopefully learn more about them," said Fleuchaus.

Keepers are also hopeful Cossette will someday learn to love another seal.

Visitors can discover hidden areas of the Milwaukee County Zoo during the once-a-year event, Behind the Scenes Weekend on March 10-11.

Cossette, a female harbor seal

Cossette, a female harbor seal

This weekend, visitors can see the underground enclosures where warm-weather animals live during the winter, learn how food items are prepared for polar bear Snow Lilly, and get an up-close look at the filtration system in the Aquatic & Reptile Center.