Summer sees the birth of THREE California sea lion pups at Dublin Zoo!

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Summer sees the birth of THREE California sea lion pups at Dublin Zoo!

Monday, 18 June 2018

Dublin Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of not one, but three California sea lion pups over the course of two weeks!

The latest additions, which include one male and two females, are the offspring of father Niko and proud mums Florence, Seanna and Cassie.  

Team leader Eddie O’Brien said, “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome three births in just two weeks. I’m delighted to say that the new mums and their young are doing very well.  Generally speaking, sea lion pups tend to spend their first few days on land bonding with their mums before swimming lessons commence. While each mum is teaching her pup, she will swim beneath it to keep it afloat and guide it through the water.”

Dublin Zoo takes part in the European Breeding programmes for California sea lions. To see the newest members of the colony, visit Dublin Zoo’s Sea Lion Cove. Dublin Zoo, a not-for-profit organisation, is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 6pm from March - September. 

Power in Mum-bers

It is not a coincidence that all the Dublin Zoo sea lions are born in June. Sea lions give birth at optimum times of the year, when the conditions are at their best and food is plentiful. Females have a genetic trait called ‘delayed implantation’ which means that when they have been mated, they can choose when to plant the fertilized embryo in the uterine wall depending on conditions. In the wild, females are typically mated from just one week after giving birth while they are still on land with the colony. However, they keep the embryo ‘on hold’ for around 3 months before they implant and development begins. So even though fertilization only takes 9 months, they will not give birth until around 12 months after mating when the conditions are more favourable. This means that all the females give birth roughly at the same time, giving the colony power in numbers and a greater chance of survival overall.

It is very interesting and encouraging to see that the sea lions at Dublin Zoo are also following this natural pattern!

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