Baikal seal cub Niko makes his debut at Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture. (Filmed by Takunori Yasuda)

TOBA, Mie Prefecture--Images of a Baikal seal cub with a “human-like” face went viral after the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture showed off its cute and friendly resident named Niko, or smile, on Twitter.

Visitors have been eager to view the seal since it made its public debut here on June 1. The facility reopened on May 18.

Many viewers commented that the seal’s looks resemble that of an old man.

“Baikal seals have relatively small faces and big eyes, so they look quite human from certain angles,” said Niko's keeper Mika Kita, 46.

The seal was born on Feb. 22. His name stemmed from the fact that his birthday has five 2s, which can be pronounced as “nigo” (two and five), similar to niko in Japanese.

The aquarium also chose the name to send out a positive message that people everywhere should keep smiling while the world grapples with the new coronavirus pandemic.

Niko weighed 3.7 kilograms at birth, but now tips the scales at 14.9 kg thanks to a steady diet of 2 kg of fish a day, mainly horse mackerel and smelt.

The seal lives with six others, including its mother Unariko and father Kucha, who are estimated to be 30 and 17 years old, respectively.