Another new arrival at Longleat

13 July 2010, 06:21

Longleat keepers are delighted to announce the birth of one of its wetter residents, a Californian Sea Lion.

The birth of a sea lion normally takes place on dry land and it can be only a matter of a few days before the youngster - in this case, a male called Riley - takes to water.

Mark Tye, Head of Section confirmed "It's fabulous to see a new pup in the sea lion colony. He is fitting in really well with the rest of the group although mum, Zook, is keeping a gentle eye on things to ensure that the others don't get that bit too close for her liking.

"He has taken a couple of short cooling paddles at the edge of the lake before returning to the safety of mum's side. Zook is a lovely mum and with Riley being her third birth, we have every hope that he will grow to be a strapping young lad".

Sea lions carry their pups for 12-months. As with all mammals, the pup will take milk from mum for the first few months with solid foods being introduced as they grow. The pup will start chasing around the lake with the rest of the colony from around six months of age and Longleat staff will start the full weaning process when the pup is around ten to eleven months old.

Longleat is famous for its lions and it is understood that sea lions are named after these majestic land living must have something to do with the loud barks that they make; it is quite some sound echoing around Half Mile Lake as the Longleat colony of nine wait impatiently for fishy treats from the passing Safari Boats.

Riley - the Sea Lion pup - with mum Zook