3/24/16

St. Patrick's Day Enrichment

The rescued sea lions at the Aquarium are a curious and energetic pair. So the trainers are always finding new ways to engage and stimulate Zoe and Sierra. When St. Patrick's day rolled around, they found the perfect activity: fun with green-shamrock-shaped jello! 

The jello was made by our stellar volunteers out of plain gelatin and a plant-based food supplement called spirulina (people eat this, too). Of course we don't know if the sea lions liked the flavor, but they did show lots of interest in this activity! Here's a look at the fun.

Patty slapped some of the shamrock-shaped gelatin pieces
on to the glass wall for the sea lions to find.
Visitors and fur seals alike were curious about the activity.
But the fur seals were decidedly "meh" about the jello.
The sea lions, however, got right in there to explore!
There was lots of sniffing and chewing and tossing and biting of the gelatin.
And visitors had front row seats on the fun!

2/13/16

Seals Love

For the wellbeing of the animals in our care, the seals and sea lions learn to participate in ultrasounds with our vet staff.  One of the first steps in preparing for this is introducing them to any objects they may be unfamiliar with. A lap top looks very similar to our ultrasound machine, so introducing our younger animals to this through play is a great way to begin.

Kitovi on the computer

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the trainers did a play on the Plenty of Fish dating website!



Kitovi the youngest fur seal was very curious! Not sure if she found a date, though — wink wink.


Here's wishing you and your Valentine a very sweet long weekend and stay warm! Cozy up on the couch with your laptop and check out all the posts on the Marine Mammal Trainers Blog.


1/22/16

Snow Can Be Fun!

As parts of the East Coast brace for a crippling blizzard, it's fun to distract ourselves by thinking about fun to be had wading in a big pile of snow. Recently the trainers scooped up the white stuff and provided a bit of frosty enrichment for the seals and sea lions in the marine mammal center.

Take a look!

 

The Northern fur seals are perfectly adapted to life in the snow. Their wild habitat ranges from Northern California and up through the chilly climes of Alaska. That thick fur coat that keeps them warm! The California sea lions rely on a layer of blubber to keep them warm.

Even with their cozy cushion, the sea lions were reluctant to romp in the snow this time. But you can always count on the young'uns to have the most fun in the snow. Chiidax and Kitovi were definitely having blast!

Nothing like burying your face in the snow

More fun with snow:

1/5/16

Seal Smooches for a Happy 2016

When the calendar flips, the new year is often marked with a few kisses from dear friends and family. Since the seals and sea lions are part of our family, the trainers had to share a couple pictures of the smooches that rang in this new year!

Commander and Vanessa: Big seals give big "kisses"! 
For seals, a kiss means putting their face near or touching the face of a trainer. Not only is it fun, it also builds trust between the trainer and the seal and offers a mental challenge as a new skill for the seal to learn.

Take a look—and Happy New Year!

Kitovi gives Lindsay and the new baby a kiss
Patty and Chiidax
Lindsay with Lana and Amelia
Elias and Reggae
Jess and Ursula
Brother and sister smooch — Chacoda and Cayenne
Patty with Chacoda and Cayenne double kiss


12/31/15

No snow? No problem!

Some of the trainers were dreaming of a white Christmas. Unfortunately, 70 degree weather and snow don't mix, so we had to get creative. That's where the snow cone machine comes in! We had snowmen, bowls of snow with treats and snow showers.




The sea lions wanted in on the snow-making action. Watch!