A pair of one-year-old California sea lions is settling in to their new 50,000-gallon home at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The young male, Buzz, and female, Annabelle, arrived at the Zoo in February from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. After a standard quarantine period, they are beginning their introduction to their exhibit mates - one sea lion and four harbor seals - in the Zoo's Northern Trek. They will be on exhibit for a few hours each day for the next week or until they are fully acclimated.
Buzz and Annabelle's lives began, and nearly ended, off the coast of California. Both almost died of starvation and are partially blind. Buzz, an 80-pound male, has impaired vision in his right eye and Annabelle, a 60-pound female, lost her left eye to a gunshot wound. They were rescued by the Marine Mammal Center in August 2009 and nursed back to health.
It is unusual for the Zoo to acquire wild-born animals. Most animals come from other accredited zoos. However, the Zoo was looking to add to its marine mammal collection, so the timing was perfect. The young animals flew from Oakland, CA, to Cleveland on a FedEx flight accompanied by Zoo staff.
California sea lions can live for 20 or 30 years in zoos and grow to 7 feet long and up to 800 pounds. Because of their vision problems, Buzz and Annabelle cannot be released back into the wild.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10 per person ages 12 and older, $7 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480. To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.