Belfast Zoo celebrates new arrivals

Published Tuesday, 05 August 2014
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Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of two California sea lion pups.

Larry was born to mother, Arielle, on 15 June and was swiftly followed by Curley who was born the following day to mother, Stella. The proud dad of both male pups is Wesley.

Wesley arrived at Belfast Zoo in February 2007 from Woburn Safari Park, and has since fathered 15 pups. The latest arrivals brings the total number of sea lions to eight.

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, said: "The sea lions are one of the noisiest species on the Cave Hill site and they have plenty to shout about with the arrival of the two pups.

"We are all delighted with the latest additions and they are already 'making a splash' with visitors.

"We have scheduled feeding times every day throughout the summer, so (visitors can) call by the sea lion pool at 10.45am or 3pm to see the gang in action!"

The main threat facing California sea lions is from fishermen, as they regard the animals as competition for fish.

Increased water pollution is also becoming a threat to their habitat.

California sea lions in European zoos are managed as part of a co-operative European breeding programme and many of the pups born at Belfast Zoo have moved to zoological collections around the world.

© UTV News
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