Our Sea Lions performance during their show is based around their natural behaviours. A clap is the natural movement they make to propel themselves through the water, a salute is how they clean their face and lying down is how they sunbathe. We primarily train them for husbandry purposes. By asking them to present their flippers we can check for cuts, bits and scratches. We are able to look into their mouths to check for damaged teeth and ulcers and when they are lying down we are able to give them a full body check.
We also train them to accept any necessary injections, blood tests, x-rays or ultra sound scans they may require. All behaviour is then put into a presentation to educate and create awareness through entertainment.
We train our Sea Lions using positive reinforcement which means we reward achieved tasks with toys, food or fuss and attention. Training is very beneficial to captive marine mammals in order to stimulate them both mentally and physically, providing good enrichment for them. A Sea Lions diet consists of a mixture of Mackerel, Herring, Sprats and Squid. The amount that they consume individually is dependant on their size and the time of year. They will eat less in warmer periods and try to fatten up during colder times.
Daily records are kept on each individual Sea Lion, which will include the amount of fish they have consumed, their training plan, medical needs and any other information that is deemed important.
Californian Sea Lions are found in North America and the males are probably the most vocal of all marine mammals, letting out an incessant honking bark to protect their territories against intruders.
There are many distinguishing characteristics between Sea Lions and Seals. A Sea Lions front flippers are much larger than a Seals and their hind flippers are adapted to turn forward to aid their movement on land. Their front flippers are mostly used for propulsion. the back flippers acting like as a rudder for steering themselves, whereas it is the reverse with Seals. Sea Lions also have external ears, unlike their Seal cousins whom do not have any external ears.