SHARECOMMENTMORE

By Kristina D'Ambrosio

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -Gunnar, a 38-year-old male seal has died at the National Zoo.

Originally from Iceland, Gunnar lived a very full life. He came to the National Zoo in 1979 from the Naval Oceans Systems Center in San Diego where he was a part of the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, and trained to perform underwater tasks during the Cold War for the Navy.

In his career as a Navy seal, Gunnar learned how to use a screwdriver, insert and remove equipment, turn a wheel valve, and retrieve items from the ocean floor while remaining underwater for 20 minutes at a time.

Gunnar was an extraordinary seal in more ways than one as he also outlived the typical lifespan of a wild gray seal by eight years. Female seals live longer with a lifespan close to 40 years.

Gunnar had two female pups named Kara and Kjia who were born at the National Zoo, and currently live at Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey.