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Sea lion dies at NC Zoo

Posted December 16, 2013

California sea lions enjoy their first day on exhibit at the North Carolina Zoo on Dec. 5, 2013. (NC Zoo photo)
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— A female sea lion died over the weekend at the North Carolina Zoo, officials said Monday.

Storm, estimated to be 17 months old, was found dead in the zoo’s seal/sea lion holding facilities at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Officials said the animal was behaving normally and showed no signs of illness less than an hour earlier.

A necropsy, or animal autopsy, performed late Saturday proved inconclusive, according to zoo Chief Veterinarian Dr. Mike Loomis. Blood and tissue samples have been sent to outside laboratories for further testing to help determine the cause of death. Results of those tests could take several weeks, Loomis said.

Storm was one of two sea lions that arrived in Asheboro last month after being rescued by Sea World of San Diego in June 2012. Both animals had been abandoned or lost their mothers.

“We were aware that any animals rescued from the wild may have underlying health issues that contributed to their original need for rescue,” zoo General Curator Ken Reininger said in a statement. “However, we are committed to taking that risk now and in the future."

After completing a mandatory 30-day quarantine period, the sea lions were placed on exhibit with two male Harbor seals in the zoo’s Rocky Coast exhibit complex. The two Harbor seals and Dyson, the other rescued sea lion, appear healthy and remain on exhibit, according to keepers.


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  • feistyredhead2001 Dec 17, 2013

    So sad, R,I.P storm.

  • xylem01 Dec 17, 2013

    Me too, Trixie! So very sad.

  • Trixie Dec 17, 2013

    Sometimes there's a reason why the mom abandons them. They sense something is wrong with the baby and they concentrate on healthier siblings. I'm still glad we take a chance of them though.

  • lilgtogirl Dec 17, 2013

    Everything Sea World touches gets tainted. You don't see this problem from the rescue groups. Just Sea World.

  • lec02572 Dec 17, 2013

    What is going on there? Isn't this like the 3rd or 4th animal to pass away there in like the last 4 months?

  • 678devilish Dec 17, 2013

    So sad. Maybe they will be able to obtain another in time.

  • ncteacher22 Dec 17, 2013

    This is sad news, but I doubt we can blame it on the zoo. Animals die every day all over the world. It is called the cycle of life! These just happened to have been reported on.

  • nclgw Dec 17, 2013

    There does seem to be several deaths at the NC Zoo. Is this a wild animal facing future 'behind bars' and giving up?

  • dirkdiggler Dec 17, 2013

    Why are all our animals at this zoo dying???

  • blahz Dec 17, 2013

    seal pup came from San Diego, had lost it's mother... F-ushima radiation from Japan