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Sea lion Ty sticks out his tongue, swimming with his head lifted out of the water.

California Sea Lion

“California” only begins to describe sea lions’ range. They’re found along coasts and on offshore islands from British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. But the “lion” part of these marine mammals’ name is spot on. Sea lions are among the most vocal of all mammals, and the mountainous males can emit reverberating barks to defend their territories or court females.

California sea lions Laguna, Cruz and Ty pile up for a nap at Grainger Sea Lion Cove.

Sea lions Laguna, Cruz and Ty piled up for a nap.

A home for rescued sea lions

Three of Shedd's sea lions are rescues, but each came to the aquarium in a different way. Cruz was a pup when he was found blinded in both eyes on the California coast, while Laguna was found stranded and starving on California beaches—not once, but twice! Biff was tagged as a "nuisance animal" for repeatedly preying on endangered Chinook salmon on the Columbia River. Culling can be the next step, but government wildlife agencies and the marine mammal community collaborated to find him a home at Shedd.

“The trust Cruz, our rescued blind sea lion, has with us is truly remarkable. If you were to come to Shedd and see him zipping through the water and running around his habitat, you’d never know he had any visual impairment.”

Duke Stacey, animal care specialist

Rescued sea lion Cruz is blind, but that doesn’t keep him from training like the other animals! Our experts have built a program based on sound, touch and, most important, trust.

Meet the sea lions

On an Abbott Oceanariumvisit, you might see California sea lionLaguna and Cruz zooming around Grainger Sea Lion Cove or piled up for a nap. Other times Biff, who rounds out our quartet of rescued sea lions, has the pool. Even when you can’t see them, you can hear these aquatic predators throughout the Pacific Northwest exhibit when they start vocalizing—and living up to their common name.

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Cruz

Laguna

Biff