ST. PAUL, Minnesota (FOX 9) – The oldest sea lion in the zoo of Saint-Paul de Côme has died. She was 31 years old.
Sealia, better known as “CC”, died on Saturday April 16, the zoo announced on Tuesday. She lived a long life – the average lifespan of a sea lion is 15 to 25 years.
CC starred on The Sparky Show, from 2002 until his retirement in 2015, and was the sixth sea lion to star as Sparky and was the first female Sparky on the beloved show. His tricks included ball balance, fin supports and fast swimming.
The California sea lion was born at Como Zoo and was the grand dame of Port of Como, the new habitat for seals and sea lions that opened at the zoo last year. She loved spending time in her “hot tub” (a paddling pool filled with hot water).
CC takes advantage of his hot tub. (Como Zoo)
“CC was very smart,” senior zookeeper Allison Jungheim said in a statement. “She had her own preferences for trainers, fish, sleeping places and much more. She had her guardians wrapped around her fin, who were always ready to fulfill her wishes.”
In addition to the tricks she learned for the “Sparky Show”, CC also knew about herding behaviors like tooth brushing, voluntary vaccinations and voluntary blood draws, which helped her become the one of the oldest sea lions in the Association of Zoo and Aquarium Institutions. , the zoo said.
Over the past few weeks, CC’s health had declined, with the zoo noting that she had stopped eating for several weeks and blood tests showed she had diminished kidney function and a possible “system infection”. Despite veterinary efforts, CC’s health continued to decline and the zoo made the “difficult decision” to euthanize the seal on Saturday, surrounded by its keepers.
“Como Zoo is proud of the great work we do with our animals, and the long life of this animal is the result of the incredible care of zookeepers and veterinary staff, as well as the zoo industry who embrace and learn about geriatric animals in captivity,” Michelle Furrer, director of the zoo and conservatory of Como Park, said in a statement. “Good medical care, carefully formulated diets and comfortable housing for all animals in Como contribute to the excellent health and longevity of our animals.”
The zoo called her a ‘beloved ambassador’ for her species, adding that she will be ‘deeply missed’ by those who knew and cared for her, including her finned friends Subee, Poppy, Niko , Kash, Kilian, Stan and Wally.
Como Zoo announced earlier this month that the popular “Sparky Show” will resume on May 7. The revamped show will spotlight the seven animals that call Como Harbor home, each taking on the role of “Sparky” on any given day.