Thursday, February 12, 2015

Diamond Joins the Sea Lion Habitat

It's very exciting to see Diamond, Karen, Kilo, and Lina out on the habitat together.

In October we welcomed a new member to the family, Diamond the sea lion. She came here because we felt our young sea lion Lina needed a friend closer to her own age. Diamond’s first home was up in the sea lion house, where she got to know her trainers and meet her new roomies. The first sea lion she met was Kilo, who welcomed another girl to his group with open flippers, followed by Karen who enjoyed a few cuddles with her. Lastly, little Lina met her new friend and was thrilled to have rambunctious girl in the mix. 

Very social and curious, Diamond became fast friends with all three new roommates. Then, it was time for her to take a big step and join the others in the habitat. As word got around the facility that it was Diamond’s big day, a large group of staff and volunteers lined the fence to watch her boldly go where she had never gone before. 

Each sea lion partnered with his or her own trainer for the session. Kilo and Karen showed off their signature behaviors, while Lina worked with her trainer inside the house. Trainers Loriel and Linda both worked with Diamond to see if she wanted to go down the ramp and make her way out of the house and into the habitat. A few times, she went halfway but then got a little nervous and ran back up inside. The trainers then tried to have her exit from the other side and down the stairs. Again, she came close but wasn’t able to go the entire distance. Moving somewhere new can be scary. Always putting the animals first, we wanted to make sure she made the move on her own terms.

After a small break, the trainers decided to take a different route. The trainers asked Kilo to come into the house and then led him and Diamond through the front door. That decision was gold! Diamond walked alongside Kilo with no hesitation. It turns out; she just needed a friend to hold her flipper.
As she splashed into the giant sea lion lagoon, all of the staff, volunteers, and guests who had assembled to see what was going on, were overjoyed by seeing Diamond play with her friends in the habitat. Kilo barked his excitement. Karen swam around with Diamond by her side. Lina hopped up on the dock and gave her new friend a nose-to-nose kiss. A visitor who was here with her family stopped to see what was going on and was excited to be a part of this joyous day. As a member of DRC, she had read about Diamond’s arrival via our E-Newsletter. What luck they had to visit right at that moment. Of course, we thanked them for being members and helping support DRC’s mission.
We are so excited to walk by the sea lion habitat and see little Diamond out there with the rest of our flippered family members. She is small and looks a lot like Lina. However, the easiest way to tell them apart is by the color of their fur. Lina has a golden tint to her coloring while Diamond is more silver and literally shines like a diamond. She is a great addition to the DRC family and we can’t wait to share more stories about her adventures with Karen, Kilo and Lina!

*This story is from several months ago, but we wanted to share it with our supporters who were not able to be here while Diamond made her way into the sea lion habitat.*