« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Brandon Stahl, Published June 20 2012

Duluth seal photo goes viral

DULUTH, Minn. - It was a picture worth, ahem, clapping for: a bright-eyed seal that got out of the Lake Superior Zoo, lying in the middle of Grand Avenue as if it weren’t sure where to go next.

That photo went viral, re-tweeted hundreds, if not thousands, of times, picked up by numerous websites and even inspiring a twitter account: the “Duluth Zoo Seal.”

The photo was taken by 26-year-old Riverside resident Ellie Burcar, who said she was driving home from a friend’s house early Wednesday when she spotted what she thought was a dog in the road.

“When I got closer, I couldn’t believe it: It was a seal,” she said. “It was a perfect shot. Right after he turned his head.”

The photo of the car in the background belongs to Donald Melton, who said he was out taking a look at the damage the rain had brought when he saw the seal, named “Feisty.”

“She couldn’t believe it,” Melton said of Burcar. “She jumped out and started taking pictures of it with her phone.”

After Burcar posted the photo to her Facebook page, a Facebook friend posted it on his page. Kyle Matteson of Minneapolis spotted the photo and forwarded it to the Duluth News Tribune, which linked to it on the newspaper’s Twitter page. From there, it went viral.

Feisty was able to escape when Kingsbury Creek flooded its Polar Shores exhibit early Wednesday.

Burcar said she and Melton used their cars to block oncoming traffic from hitting the seal, then corralled it to a small puddle until the arrival of police and firefighters, who took it back to the zoo.

“When we got it into the water, it was splashing around on the side of the road,” Burcar said. “It was amazing.”