The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is now home to a young California sea lion that was rescued on the California on the coast of Avilla Beach, Calif.
The female California sea lion showed up on the deck of a seaside bar during a football game. The pup, which was promptly nicknamed Halftime, was transferred to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif. for care and rehabilitation.
This was the third time this sea lion had been stranded. Because she had become so habituated to humans, it was clear that she could not be released back into the wild.
The Office of Protected Resources of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service contacted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums which reached out to WCS’s Bronx Zoo to find her a new home. After being deemed non-releasable at the Marine Mammal Center, the young sea lion was escorted to New York by staff from the Bronx Zoo.
“The new addition to the zoo’s sea lion population is a rare opportunity for the zoo and our visitors,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Bronx Zoo Director. “We are able to provide a home for an animal unlikely to survive alone in the wild. Additionally, once mature, this pup will help WCS maintain genetic diversity in our breeding population of sea lions. She will be well cared for in the Bronx and will be an ambassador for the species by helping us teach zoo visitors about wildlife and conservation.”
The Wildlife Conservation Society exhibits California sea lions at all five of its wildlife parks in New York City. Well developed and carefully managed husbandry techniques have been a major contributor to the success of the zoo’s sea lion breeding program.
There are currently eight male and ten female sea lions in WCS parks. The new pup has joined the one male and three females at the Bronx Zoo’s pool on the famous Astor Court. Visitors can see the California sea lions receive their enrichment and training at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily at the Bronx Zoo.