I stood there watching the two companions, Duke and Maverick, playing in the waves. They weren’t good conversationalists. They talked a lot but I couldn’t understand them. But after all, they are both sea lions.
15 month old Duke and Maverick were both found stranded on the beach a couple days apart from each other in southern California. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center took them in with open arms. The two sea lions, unharmed, were released into the wild. Both sea lions were found stranded again just a couple months later. The Denver Zoo took them in July.
The sea lions were stranded because the temperature of the ocean water is rising. All the fish look for colder waters to escape the heat. The colder waters are deeper than young sea lions, like Duke and Maverick, can go. Over fishing also means less fish like sardines for them to eat.
The Denver Zoo takes in, medicates and feeds the sea lions like a pet. These two sea lions still have a wild side just like a wild sea lion. Maverick is very inquisitive and energetic but Duke is very chill and laid back. Duke and Maverick hadn’t seen a sea lion in a while so the Denver Zoo introduced Duke to Gunnison, another sea lion pup, and they really hit it off. Duke and Maverick weigh about 100 pounds but could get up to 600 to 700 pounds.
Zookeeper Meryt Schumacher talked us through their training, feeding and medical health programs. The Denver Zoo is doing great things to save these comical, active and adorable creatures. Make sure to stop by soon and meet Duke and Maverick!