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|Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration Welcomes Two New Resident Sea Lions|
MYSTIC, Conn. (October 29, 2008) – The colony at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration’s Pribilof Islands exhibit has grown larger! The exhibit’s current residents – Steller sea lions, northern fur seals and a harbor seal – just welcomed two new pool mates, Eden and Mara.
The female Steller sea lions arrived on the evening of October 23 after flying into Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks from the Vancouver Aquarium. For the past week, they have been acclimating to their new surroundings at the Pribilof Islands exhibit.
Eden and Mara join Stellers Juneau, L.A. (short for Little Angel) and Astro – who was relocated here earlier this year – as well as three northern fur seals and a harbor seal, in the exhibit.
“We are excited to have Eden and Mara here,” said Lisa Mazzaro, Ph.D., assistant director of research and animal care at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration. “Both aquariums benefit rom this move. We wanted to increase our population of Stellers, as our females are getting older, and Vancouver Aquarium had a surplus of Stellers and needed a home for them.”
The animals are at the aquarium on a loan for the purposes of research, education and public display until October 2013, with the opportunity to extend their stay based on the management needs for the species.
“Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration was chosen for a loan of our sea lions because its staff has a long history of caring for Stellers and an excellent reputation for husbandry, veterinary care and research,” said Marty Haulena, D.V.M., MSc, Dipl. ACZM, staff veterinarian at Vancouver Aquarium.
“In addition, Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration is interested in continuing our research with the University of British Columbia's Marine Mammal Research Unit around Steller sea lion physiology and possible causes of recent population declines. Having this work continue while the sea lions are at another facility is very important.”
In the past, the aquarium has collaborated with Vancouver Aquarium on important research, including nutritional studies with harbor seals and marine mammal brucellosis, a zoonotic disease.
Eden, age 8, weighs in at 330 pounds, while Mara, 5, weighs 312 pounds. Steller females reach an average weight of 450 to 550 pounds and nine feet in length, and can live up to 30 years. Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration is one of only four facilities in North America to house Steller sea lions.
The safe transport of Eden and Mara from Vancouver to Mystic was made possible by the generosity of Kelvin Smith Ocean Society members Arthur and Millicent Gossner and R. Peter Fullerton.
About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, conservation practices, education, research and direct action. Please visit vanaqua.org to learn more about the Vancouver Aquarium.
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