The Alaska SeaLife Center is celebrating the birth of the Steller sea lion pup they’ve been anxiously awaiting. The female pup was born at 5:35am on June 20th, with no complications. Both pup and mother are healthy.
Marine mammal scientist Lori Polasek has been working to breed Steller sea lions at the SeaLife Center for the last three years to learn why the population is struggling in the wild.
“It’s just like being on cloud nine,” Polasek says. “It’s the successful culmination of a lot of work. And it’s rewarding and it’s exciting to see that we’re going to be able to collect good science from these animals that hopefully will then be turned around to have a positive impact on the wild population. And I think that the Center as a whole is excited and celebrating with us which just makes it exceptionally special.”
This is the first successful Steller sea lion birth at the Alaska SeaLife Center — and the first in captivity in North America since the 1980s. The pup, which according to industry standards won’t be named until thirty days after its birth, will likely be on exhibit in a few months.