Sea Lion Tales

JAMES WEINPRESS

ROCKY SHORES KEEPER

Rocky Shores is home to some remarkable animals. Its inhabitants traveled here from across the country, each arriving with its own unique story. Two animals in particular overcame significant obstacles before calling Utah’s Hogle Zoo home.

These special animals are the California sea lions — Maverick, and Rocky. Both were born in the wild, where they sustained injuries that made it impossible for them to return to their home in the Pacific Ocean. When a wild animal is found stranded, it is usually in need of medical attention and is brought to a rescue and rehabilitation facility. Rescue organizations offer their patients veterinary care and a safe place to regain their strength. While the primary goal of these facilities is to help them recover, and return to the wild, they are not set up to be long-term homes. However, some animals’ injuries are so severe they would be unable to survive again in the wild. This was true for Maverick, and Rocky.

Maverick was found as a malnourished pup on the beach in 2011. He had sustained an injury to his right eye that left him partially blind. He was rescued by The Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) in California. Although his eye healed, it was permanently damaged. It was determined that he could not hunt successfully and could not be released. Rocky Shores provided him with a new home, as he was unable to hunt without full vision.
Rocky was found at less than a year old with injuries to his skull. This was the result of a gunshot wound. His injuries deemed him non-releasable. The surgery that successfully removed the shrapnel from his head left air bubbles trapped in his brain. As a result, Rocky is slightly mentally and physically delayed. Despite the initial life-threatening circumstances surrounding his condition, Rocky made a full recovery and safely made the trip to Hogle Zoo.

These two sea lions are true survivors. Since their arrival, they have shown amazing growth in their training. Prior to their arrival, each sea lion had limited human contact and had never been introduced to formal training. See how far they’ve come during your next visit by attending one of the daily training demonstrations and saying hello to Maverick and Rocky. They are truly astonishing tales of survival!

 

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