The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Bronx Zoo is excited to announce the addition of two California Sea Lion pups.
The pups were born in June to different mothers. The pup born to mother, Indy, has been identified as a male. Keepers have not yet been able to determine the sex of the other pup, born to Margaretta. Both have yet to receive their names.
Clyde is the sire of both pups. He is one of two adult bulls that came to WCS’s Queens Zoo in 2013 from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of a local wildlife management project in Bonneville, Ore. These are his first offspring since arriving in New York.
The California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) is a coastal eared seal native to western North America. It is one of five species of Sea Lion. Its natural habitat ranges from southeast Alaska to central Mexico, including the Gulf of California.
They are mainly found on sandy or rocky beaches, but they also frequent manmade environments, such as marinas and wharves. Sea Lions feed on a number of species of fish and squid, and are preyed on by Orcas and White Sharks.
California Sea Lions have a polygamous breeding pattern. From May to August, males establish territories and try to attract females with which to mate. Females are free to move in between territories, and are not coerced by males. Mothers nurse their pups in between foraging trips.
Sea Lions communicate with numerous vocalizations, notably with barks and mother-pup contact calls. Outside of their breeding season, Sea Lions spend much of their time at sea, but they come to shore to molt.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as “Least Concern”, due to its abundance. However, Sea Lions may be killed when in conflict with fishermen, by poaching, and by entanglements in man-made garbage. They are also threatened by pollutants like DDT and PCB, which accumulate in the marine food chain.
All marine mammals, including Sea Lions, are protected under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.