MEMPHIS, TENN. – Memphis Zoo is delighted to announce the birth of not one, but two, California sea lions earlier this month. The new pups – both female – are the offspring of father “Andre” and moms “Remy” and “Catalina.”
“We are so pleased to welcome these girls to our sea lion family,” shared Courtney Janney, area curator. “Born just days apart, it’s exciting to see them find their place in our group and explore their surroundings. These are the first sea lion births at Memphis Zoo since 2012 and we look forward to watching the two pups grow up together.”
Catalina, a first-time mom, gave birth behind-the-scenes on Tuesday, July 10. The keepers named her new pup “Gracie,” as homage to Graceland and her Memphis roots.
Never one to shy away from her fans, Remy gave birth on exhibit two days later to baby girl, “Zoey.” This is the second birth for Remy but the first for her at Memphis Zoo. Guests were able to watch as Zoey nursed, took her first “steps,” and experienced her first “swim lesson” – closely supervised by Remy.
“Both pups are doing great,” shared Memphis Zoo senior veterinarian, Dr. Felicia Knightly. “They are both extremely precocious and adapting well.”
Memphis Zoo has had sea lions in its collection since 1955. Andre was a victim of Hurricane Katrina, when his facility was wiped out by the storm. He was missing for nearly two weeks until a policeman discovered him. Memphis Zoo took him in and he’s been part of the Memphis Zoo family ever since.
California sea lion pups typically don’t swim for the first weeks of their life. Their moms teach them by first getting them acclimated to the water and then following close beneath them for guidance. The pups will nurse anywhere from 5-12 months and their time on exhibit will be dictated by the animals themselves.
To allow the new pups time to adjust and, not knowing where they may choose to be during showtimes, Memphis Zoo’s sea lion shows will be flexible. The shows will still be conducted at the scheduled times but may be a bit quieter to allow moms to hear their pups if necessary.
About Sea Lions
California sea lions are the smallest of all sea lions. They’re pinnipeds, meaning “fin-footed.” The ability to use their flippers are one of the differences between seals and sea lions. Another difference is a visible, external ear. Sea lions are strong swimmers, getting up to 22 mph underwater; they can hold their breath underwater up to 30 minutes.
A group of sea lions can have a different name, depending on the circumstances. A large group of females and one male is called a harem. During breeding season, a group of sea lions is called a rookery. When sea lions are in the water, they’re a raft, and while on land, they’re a colony.
California sea lions are fully protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
About Memphis Zoo
Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is home to more than 4,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top zoos in the country by TripAdvisor®and by USA Today, the Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovations and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo’s animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, The Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek, CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le, and the all-new Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Memphis Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. It is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of Memphis Zoo.