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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Prague's hero seal is posthumous father
Prague zoo keeper Antonin Vajdl holds two-month-old Abeba
Abeba's father Gaston died after five-day freedom swim
Gaston the seal, who escaped from Prague zoo in last year's devastating floods in the Czech capital has posthumously become a father.

Seal pup Abeba was born two months ago in Prague and was "christened" this week by zoo-keepers.

Gaston made a heroic bid for freedom last August as floodwaters engulfed the zoo.

He swam for five days down the swollen Vltava and Elbe rivers towards the North Sea.

He was captured just north of Dresden after being tracked by boat and helicopter.

But by the time rescuers found him, he had swum 120 kilometres (75 miles), and was too shocked and exhausted to survive the journey back to Prague.

Gaston the seal
Gaston did not live to see his second son
Gaston was a South African fur seal (arctocephalus pusillus), which in the wild can swim 80km a day and can weigh up to 350kg (772lb).

Pups are born nearly a year after the females become pregnant.

When Gaston died, he had already fathered another son, Melon, with his mate, Julie.

Gaston's bid for freedom was joined by at least two other seals, but a a fourth seal reportedly stayed in its tank and refused to join the breakout.

Many other animals died in the floods, or had to be put down.


SEE ALSO:
Prague's rescued seal dies
20 Aug 02  |  Europe
Czech seal caught in Germany
19 Aug 02  |  Europe


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