By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – A new California sea lion pup became the newest member of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Sunday, June 25, at the Zoo’s Noble Aquatic Center. He is the fourth offspring born to mom Pearl, 14, and dad Xander, 14. Pearl also gave birth on June 25 of last year to a female pup which the public helped to name Phoenix.
“Every birth is exciting and a great opportunity to inspire our guests to care for all marine life,” said Mark Bechtel, aquatics curator. “Pearl has been such a good mother to Phoenix, we cannot wait to see how well she attends to her new pup.” A few days following the birth, Pearl and the pup established the necessary bonding to enable the Zoo’s veterinary team to examine the pup allowing them to determine that the pup was a male. The public was once again invited to vote for their favorite name for the pup through the OKC Zoo’s social media platforms and website.
After the votes were tallied, Oklahoma City Zoo’s new, male California sea lion pup was given the name Cash.
According to Zookeepers, Cash has already made a big impression on the hearts of Oklahomans as 7,578 votes were cast to decide his name with the winning choice receiving 3,224 likes.
Online voting to select their favorite name for the new pup was held from June 29 to July 6. The marine mammal care team provided three options – Asher, Blaize and Cash – for voters to choose from.
Parents, Pearl and Xander arrived at the Zoo in 2003 from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California. The two welcomed the pup’s big sister, Phoenix, last June. Today, the marine mammal care team is thrilled to see the Zoo’s sea lion family grow once again.
Pearl’s pregnancy was revealed worldwide in March through a Facebook Live event with Animal Planet.
The Zoo’s veterinary and marine mammal care teams carefully monitored Pearl to make sure she and the baby remained healthy throughout her pregnancy with weekly ultrasounds. Gestation for a sea lion is approximately eight months with an additional two to three months of delayed implantation, where the embryo remains in a dormant state before it begins to develop.
Since his birth, Cash has been bonding with his mom, Pearl, and his caretakers. He is learning to swim and showing signs of being a healthy eater. Cash had a wellness checkup from his caretakers the first week of July and weighed 24 pounds. He is also being introduced to other members of his sea lion family including his aunt Addie.
As of July xx Cash is a whopping xx lbs!
The public is invited to see the growing pup and his mom daily swimming and capturing more hearts at Aquaticus. Guests are encouraged to stay up-to-date on Cash’s progress by following the Zoo on social media.
The OKC Zoo holds accreditations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the American Association of Museums. Guests are welcome daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with exhibit buildings closing at 4:45 p.m.
Stay connected to the OKC Zoo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and visit Our Stories. To learn more, call 405-424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.