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The oldest gray seal in human care died on Thursday

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Selkie, the oldest gray seal living in human care, died Thursday at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Zoo officials say Selkie, a female, was 43 years old and lived well past the normal lifespan of a wild gray seal, 25 to 30 years. She had been monitored and treated for months for masses on her abdomen.

Some online mourned Selkie via social media. 

According to a statement from the zoo, before coming to the National Zoo in 1979, Selkie had been trained and utilized by Navy researchers for underwater tasks.

"Gray seals can dive down to 1,000 feet deep and remain underwater for 20 minutes, so they were considered an efficient and effective means to retrieve items from the ocean floor. In her career as a Navy seal, Selkie learned how to insert and remove equipment, use a screwdriver and turn a large wheel valve,"read the statement. 

So, yes, Selkie was once a Navy seal, but not a Navy SEAL.

(Hero Image courtesy of Chelsea Grubb and the Smithsonian)

(ABC7 contributed to this story)

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For more, check out the 60 Second Circa. 

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