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Sea Lion Pup Splashes into Denver

On Sunday June 13th, Denver Zoo welcomed a vocal little sea lion pup, their first in 17 years! Denver Zoo visitors now can see the female pup as she explores the seal pool in the zoo’s Northern Shores area with her mother. Weighing just 15 pounds now, she will eventually tip the scales at a burly 195 to 230 pounds.

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Sea lion pup denver zoo 3Photo credits: Dave Parsons / Denver Zoo


Visitors Can See Playful Young Pup Now!

Denver, CO (June 25, 2010) – On the heels of a sad loss of a polar bear at Denver Zoo, the zoo celebrates a new special birth. On Sunday, June 13 zoo staff welcomed the birth of a female sea lion pup, the first birth of this species at the zoo since 1993. It has not yet been named. Denver Zoo visitors now can see the pup as it explores the seal pool in the zoo’s Northern Shores area with her mother. 

“We have a very vocal pup with this one as she likes to make sure mom knows exactly where she is at all times. This is a common behavior but we are asking the public not to mimic this sound around the sea lion pool. We don’t want to confuse this first time mom,” says Curator of Large Mammals BJ Schoeberl.

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 first offspring for both parents. Luci is a very attentive mother and once the pup is more mobile, he will share space with the other sea lions.

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. 

In addition to the pup’s parents, she joins fellow sea lions Gidget, Pam and Bismarck.

California sea lions can be found all along the western coast of North America.