An absolutely adorable earless seal at Okhotsk Tokkari Center in Monbetsu, Hokkaido Japan gleefully hugged and played with a gifted plush miniature version of himself.
This seal being hand-reared after being rescued due to injury.
As with the other seals at the center, the hope is to one day him back to the ocean.
“Tokkari” is the Ainu word for “azarashi” (earless seal), and as the center’s name would imply, this facility specializes in sheltering and conservation of earless seals.
Visitors can observe the natural ecology of these graceful seals, and even take part in close-up interactive activities.
All the while, the center serves as a conservation facility, treating earless seals that have been injured or caught in fishing nets, and returning them home to the ocean.
The Okhotsk Tokkari Center holds an extremely important role as Japan’s one and only marine animal conservation facility.