If ever an amphibious mammal was catapulted to the forefront of a nation’s consciousness, Tama-chan, the bearded seal who has taken up residence in Yokohama’s Katabira River, is that animal.

Following the cosmopolitan rumpus that greeted plans to grant Tama-chan local residency status (he was awarded a “juminhyo”), the torpedo-shaped carnivore made headlines again recently by escaping the clutches of animal rights activists looking to repatriate him to the Bering Sea.

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