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Aquarium of the Pacific’s 30-year-old California sea lion dies of natural causes

March 18th, 2011 · No Comments · News

<strong>Born in the wild in 1981, Miller the California sea lion was orphaned before he was old enough to survive on his own. However, he was rescued from a beach in San Diego by a marine mammal rehabilitation facility.</strong>

Born in the wild in 1981, Miller the California sea lion was orphaned before he was old enough to survive on his own. However, he was rescued from a beach in San Diego by a marine mammal rehabilitation facility.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved animals, Miller the California sea lion. Miller was the fifth-oldest male sea lion in any zoological institution and had recently “retired” to the Aquarium’s behind-the-scenes area for marine mammals.
Miller was born in the wild in 1981 and was orphaned before he was old enough to survive on his own. He was rescued from a beach in San Diego by a marine mammal rehabilitation facility and was deemed non-releasable to the wild. He was then adopted and trained for a career as a performing sea lion at Southern California amusement parks. The park he called home in 1998 was getting ready to close down its marine mammal show when the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific was just opening.
At 18 years of age, Miller went to live at the Aquarium in Long Beach in September of 1998. Miller was so well trained, making him the perfect candidate to participate in the Aquarium’s daily seal and sea lion presentations and for visitors to meet up-close during Animal Encounters. In July 2009, he celebrated his 29th birthday, an event that was reported live by a local television news crew during a special presentation. Veterinary and animal husbandry staff determined it was time for Miller to go behind the scenes for health and safety reasons last year, but visitors still had the opportunity to see him on behind-the-scenes tours.
Miller died of natural causes Wednesday, having reached the age of 30. In the wild, sea lions often live between 15 and 17 years, while sea lions in captivity can reach up to 30 years in age. “Miller has been healthy over the years, which is why he lived such a long life for a sea lion,” said Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams. “Animal husbandry staff worked to keep him comfortable as he went through natural aging processes.”
A press release issued by the Aquarium stated that Miller endeared himself to thousands of Aquarium visitors and the many staff members and volunteers who worked with him during his years at the Aquarium and that he will be missed by many.

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