Popular Enoshima aquarium seal dies after 10 1/2-year run

Kyodo

Minazo, Japan’s largest seal, died this week having charmed visitors for 10 1/2 years at Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, aquarium officials said.

The 11-year-old male, 4.5-meters long and weighing about 2 tons, was the largest seal ever raised by a Japanese aquarium. The animal died Tuesday after its appetite began to rapidly weaken the day before, officials said. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Minazo was brought to Japan from Uruguay in 1995. The seal soon mastered a variety of comical feats, including a popular stunt in which he held a bucket with one flipper while sticking out his tongue.

Minazo quickly rose to stardom at the aquarium, where his three shows a day proved a hit with visitors.

The aquarium has set up a space in front of Minazo’s water tank to allow visitors to leave flowers in Minazo’s memory, the officials said.