Behind the Scenes: Seal and Sea Lion Training

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Behind the Scenes: Seal and Sea Lion Training


During this lovely spring heat wave we are currently experiencing, I had an opportunity to watch a training session of our sea lions and seals out by their new pool (a great perk to the job!). Last year, the pool was under renovations, so I haven’t yet been able to watch with guests during the summer. (I’ve been working at the Zoo for just over a year.)

According to Keiko Sampson, our aquatics area supervisor, the seal and sea lion training & show can draw more than 300 guests around the pool and observation deck. The new pool boasts a large observation deck, shade structures and an underwater viewing area.

Keiko trains Pupper, one of our sea lions, with a salute.

It amazes me how quickly and easily the seals and sea lions respond to the trainer, whether through their salutes, barking (yes, barking!) or touching their nose to the training instruments. Training allows for relationship building with the trainers, and it enriches their mental and physical activity by increasing healthy natural behaviors.

Check out the behind-the-scenes, up-close
video of their training

You’ll be able to see a training session in person and watch the seals and sea lions swim in their new pool this Saturday, March 17. At our grand opening event, get keepers’ autographs, participate in activities and learn all about the seals and sea lions. You can find out how to tell the difference between the two, for example, I learned that sea lions are able to rotate their front flippers underneath them to walk and sit upright, while harbor seals can't do this. Instead, harbor seals lie on the ground and scoot around on their bellies.

You’ve probably heard us mention our new harbor seals, Ross and Meru, which were recently rescued from British Columbia. They aren’t quite ready for the grand opening event this Saturday, as they are still being trained and are getting acclimated to join the others in the new pool. You should be able to meet them this summer!

Ross (left) and Meru (right) train in their holding area.

What are you most excited to see for our Grand Opening event March 17:  the pool, new entrance or Ice Age? With your membership come again and again during Spring Break next week!

03/15/2012 11:13 AM |Add a comment
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