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Trained seals

Here’s yet another ad from the July 22 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

IMG_3754

Training seals was the life’s work of Captain John Tiebor, who began doing this in 1908 after abandoning a career as a bookkeeper. (Apparently, all seal trainers are given the title of Captain.) He passed away in 1945 at the age of 86; his sons took over from him.

The May 4 1912 edition of the Sydney Times had an article on the elder Tiebor and his seal training. A passage in this article is heartbreaking to me:

The average life of a seal in his natural conditions is 70 years. In captivity he seldom lives longer than 25 years, and most of them only last about 20. Then they die off suddenly, and for no apparent reason.

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