SOURCE: Denver Zoo

June 26, 2015 17:08 ET

Adorable Sea Lion Pup Born at Denver Zoo

Guests Can See the Two-Week-Old Male in Northern Shores

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - June 26, 2015) - There's a new set of flippers making its way around Denver Zoo as staff celebrates the birth of a new California sea lion pup. The unnamed male was born on the evening of June 11 and is the first of its species born at Denver Zoo since 2010. Visitors can now see him explore the seal pool, in the southern area of the Zoo's Northern Shores exhibit, with his mother, weather permitting.

The pup was born to mother, Luci, and father, Nick. Luci was born in Orlando, Florida at Sea World in 2001 and came to Denver Zoo two years later. Nick came to Denver Zoo from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, California in 2008. This is the second offspring for both parents, who welcomed female Ady in 2010.

Zookeepers say they could not have asked for a more attentive mother than Luci. At night, she will wake up her son to make sure the pup is nursing regularly, in addition to keeping a close eye on him when the two are at the seal pool. Luci has also been eating 20 pounds of fish per day to ensure the pup is receiving milk that is high in nutrients. The pup will spend his first year nursing while transitioning to fish.

Sea lions are born after a 12-month reproductive cycle. This begins with a 3-month delayed implantation, where the embryo lies dormant before implanting into the uterus. This process is followed by a 9-month gestation period. Although pups can see and vocalize at birth they don't typically learn to swim for a week or two.

The pup weighs a mere 20 pounds and is described by keepers as a bit curious and independent. He has also been very vocal, making sheep-like noises. The pup is beginning to swim in his new pool with the help of mom and has even participated in training sessions with Luci by mimicking her behaviors.

Males weigh 500 to 800 pounds as adults, while adult females are between 200 and 250 pounds.

California sea lions are found along the west coast of North America from Baja California to British Columbia. They are highly social animals, gathering in large groups called colonies. Sea lions have streamlined bodies that allow them to swim at speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour, in addition to remarkable vision that allows them to see well during the day and at night.

About Denver Zoo: Denver Zoo brings informal science education to life, providing a unique learning experience that sparks an interest in the natural world for visitors and program participants alike. Home to 4,300 animals representing more than 600 species, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care.

A leader in green action, Denver Zoo is the greenest zoo in the country and is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the environment in support of all species by attaining the highest environmental standards. Since 1996, Denver Zoo has participated in about 600 animal conservation projects in 62 countries on all seven continents.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Tiffany Barnhart
    (720) 337-1444

    Scott Camp
    (720) 337-1604