“Sea Lion Bay” has a new addition and keepers couldn’t be more thrilled with the birth of a Californian sea lion pup.
Mum Filippa gave birth to the pup on Friday 15th June and It is the first to be born in the new enclosure, which includes a large salt water pool, and opened in March this year to celebrate the zoo’s 50th birthday celebrations. Both mum and pup are being closely monitored by our animal staff, and both are doing well, having bonded immediately.
Filippa is an experienced mum, and she and her daughter Gala, together with Elmo, the father of the newborn pup, arrived earlier this year from Blackpool Zoo to form part of the group of five – and now six! – Californian sea lions
Mike Woolham, Animal Manager at the zoo, said “We certainly didn’t expect to have our first sea lion pup born so soon but Filippa obviously conceived last year whilst still at Blackpool. We had no idea until a recent scan determined the pregnancy and since then we have all been waiting for this day and are delighted to welcome the first sea lion to be born at Banham Zoo during this, our 50th year celebration”
Although Californian sea lions are listed in the “least concern” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) the species still faces many challenges in its natural habitat. These threats include entanglement in discarded fishing gear, ingesting toxins from prey, dumping of toxic and hazardous waste and changes in global atmospheric pressure that affects the availability of their prey. In the United States the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act protects all marine mammals, including Californian sea lions.