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Nemo the Sea Lion Arrives at Oregon Coast Aquarium

Published 02/14/22 at 7:52 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Nemo the Sea Lion Arrives at Oregon Coast Aquarium

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(Newport, Oregon) – Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium just expanded its family of sea lions. Nemo, a 24-year-old male California sea lion, has arrived from California's Animal Training and Research International Center (ATRIC), where he was a rescue of sorts. Nemo will eventually become one of the attraction's barking beasts visible to the public, but for now he's in a standard 30-day medical quarantine before he meets the other pinnipeds, including fellow California sea lions Catalina and Rosa.

At his age, Nemo is an elder sea lion, which is something some Oregon Coast Aquarium staff will have to deal with. In the wild, sea lions only live 15 to 20 years. In captivity, they live a maximum 30 years, which means Nemo will get ongoing specialized care to ensure he remains healthy and comfortable.

“He is already developing a good foundation of trust with mammalogists,” said the aquarium's Curator of Marine Mammals Brittany Blades. “Our staff has experience with caring for geriatric sea lions and focus on giving them the best quality of life we can while they are in their golden years.”

Blades said the other two have already noticed there's another sea lion in a pool next door and they have been curious. Staff expect the introductions to go well.

Nemo has had it a bit rough in life. He was rescued after being found stranded at two years old, with some life-altering injuries. Nemo was one of the many victims of El Niño conditions, a climate event that disrupts food chains and adversely impacts marine animals.

First, he was cared for at SeaWorld San Diego.

Nemo also sustained an injury to his jaw that required the removal of bone fragments and multiple teeth. As this would compromise his ability to catch prey, Nemo was deemed non-releasable.

He then arrived at the institute in California in 1998. While there, Nemo participated in cooperative research training, education programs, and public outreach.

However, recently ATRIC came under crippling financial strains due to the pandemic, finding itself unable to bear the cost of its animals.

“I'm glad to have found a facility with such a similar outlook of compassionate care to my own to provide the best ‘retirement home' for Nemo at this point in his life,” said owner of ATRIC Dr. Jenifer Zeligs.

2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. MORE NEMO BELOW

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