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Blind sea lion coming to Hogle Zoo

Published April 20, 2012 7:28 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After two years at a care center, a blind sea lion named Big Guy has found a home at Utah's Hogle Zoo.

Big Guy lives up to his name, weighing in at 750 pounds. Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen said the sea lion is so large, his arrival at the zoo has been delayed two weeks, until May 4, because the truck that was supposed to deliver him Friday was too small for his crate.

Hansen said Big Guy has been living at the Marine Mammal Care Center in Los Angeles after he was found injured on a Southern California beach two years ago. She said it appears the sea lion had a traumatic incident which left him blind in both eyes.

He weighed just over 300 pounds when he was found, she said, and has more than doubled his weight since being cared for at the center.

Hansen said Big Guy is unique for a zoo animal because he is not a life-long aquarium sea lion, and has been living in the wild. However, due to his injuries, it would be impossible to return him back to the ocean.

"The zoo's mission is conservation in general," she said. "A sea lion like Big Guy would have to be put down. But we can bring them in, and give them a great home."

Big Guy will also be coming with a companion from the same care center, a partially blind sea lion the center has called Little Guy. Hansen said they likely will hold a naming contest for the smaller sea lion.

The two animals will part of the new Rocky Shores facility that will open June 1. The exhibit will be home to sea lions, seals, bears and eagles.


Twitter: @jm_miller






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