Asheboro, N.C. — A female California sea lion was euthanized Friday evening at the North Carolina Zoo after suffering a variety of medical problems for several years, the zoo announced Monday.
Abby, 21, had been under treatment for chronic eye problems for several years and also suffered from pneumonia and diabetes, according to zoo senior veterinarian Dr. Ryan DeVoe.
A necropsy, or animal autopsy, performed Saturday also revealed a number of pancreatic tumors, DeVoe said.
“These are all problems that are extremely difficult to treat in marine mammals,” DeVoe said. “It was a very difficult decision (to euthanize), but one we felt was in the best interest of the animal.”
The average life span for California sea lions is 18 years.
Abby lost her 25-year-old male exhibit mate, Joey, in late 2009 to a variety of age-related illnesses. She shared the exhibit with two Harbor seals after his death.
Abby was transferred to the N.C. Zoo from Sea World of Florida in 1995.