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Franklin the Sub-Antarctic Fur Seal has decided one of Taronga’s keepers is his new mother.

Fellow keeper, Danielle, said Franklin has become very protective of his main trainer Brad, trying to ward off the other seals if they approached Brad.The little seal was near death when brought to Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital two months ago after hauling out ion a beach near Wollongong too weak to even lift its head.

Danielle said: “He’s now up to 16 kgs and he’s taking to the training so well.”

At his debut today, the plucky youngster swam effortlessly through the Zoo’s Seal Show pool, popping out to grab fish rewards and even showing how he can move backwards when asked.

Journalists, photographers and camera operators watched with interest as the shutters clicked.

At the moment, you can catch a glimpse of Franklin the Habitat Pool behind the Seal Show amphitheatre or in the Seal Cove Pool.

You can tell him apart from Taronga Australian or New Zealand Fur Seals, because the hair on his belly is much lighter in colour.

Although he can’t go back to his Southern Ocean home because of international rules to prevent any risk of disease, Franklin’s going to be a great ambassador for Southern Ocean seals at Taronga’s Great Southern Oceans exhibit.