Signed, sealed, delivered: new addition to the family
DUBLIN Zoo is celebrating another arrival following the birth of a Californian sea lion last week.
Like some of his human counterparts in his native home, the 3kg male pup is loud and brash and loves splashing about.
He hasn't quite taken to the water yet after being born on land on Tuesday last week -- but he is proving to be a quick learner as his mother Seanna, his three-year-old sister Flo and female sea lion friend Cassie give him swimming lessons. "He's already in and out of the pool and every day he's getting stronger," said zoo team leader Eddie O'Brien.
Due to the richness of his mother's milk, the pup, who has yet to be named, will quickly double in size, he added.
He is among more than two dozen California sea lions who have been born at the zoo since the species was introduced there in the 1980s, he added.
Similar to the Atlantic seals living along our coastline, sea lions are effectively "cousins" to our native seals, except they have bigger flippers in which to travel across land and have smaller ear lobes.
They are also more vocal than our local seals and emit a loud honking sound when they bark.
The pup, meanwhile, has already proved to be a hit with visitors who thronged to the zoo last week during the spate of good weather.
More than 17,000 visitors took advantage of the balmy weather last weekend to visit the zoo in a month which typically attracts about 90,000 visitors, according to zoo marketing manager Emma Kiernan.
"Compared to the same weekend last year our visitor numbers are up so the beautiful weather is definitely having a good effect," she said.