SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has officially welcomed two Australian Sea Lions today, as part of the attraction’s ongoing marine protection and public awareness program, extending its family of seven seals to nine.
Visitors to the attraction today met the new Australian Sea Lions, 18-year-old female Katanya and eight-year-old male Dunlop, while also becoming the first to trial the new interactive ‘Seal Discovery’ experience that was launched today.
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba General Manager Craig Connor said the introduction of the new seals and seal exhibit are both major steps towards understanding and protecting the species, while continuing the attraction’s conservation mission to educate the public about these animals.
“We are home to a wide range of common and endangered animals, and the SEA LIFE Mooloolaba team is passionate about helping to further educate the public on their ecological significance and the need for research and conservation,” he said.
“The interactive Seal Discovery experience is a lot of fun and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the charismatic creatures and discover their aquatic adventures through a trip of unique displays, focusing on the fun sense of sounds, smell and sight.
“Visitors can sit inside a seal pod and talk like the marine mammals through a microphone simulation, which transforms the visitor’s voice into a seal vocalisation. They can now also experience what a seal smells like, and peak through an upside-down camera to gain a glimpse into what it’s like for a seal living underwater.”
As well as the sound, smell and sight displays, ‘Seal Discovery’ also features new interactive storyboards packed with information about endangered species of seals and seal stories.
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba Mammals Manager Mark Ryan said the animal team is really excited about the arrival of the new seals and are looking forward to observing and working closely with the animals.
“Katanya and Dunlop have arrived from Sea World on the Gold Coast, as part of a comprehensive breeding program. We have been working closely as a united front with other animal attractions along the East Coast to help to protect the endangered species,” he said.
“Not many people realise that Australian Sea Lions are an endangered species, with less than 15,000 left in the wild, so it is important that we work together to further educate the public on seals, while enhancing conservation efforts and breeding programs.
“We hope the new interactive seal exhibit will also further assist in educating the public about these beautiful animals and encourage the protection of the Australian Sea Lion.”
Katanya and Dunlop join a family of seven seals including SEA LIFE Mooloolaba’s resident Australian Sea Lion, Portia, who has been at the attraction for 25 years, along with other resident seals including Australian Fur Seals and New Zealand Fur Seals.
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba Mammals Manager Mark Ryan added that Katanya and Dunlop are settling into their new home at the attraction very well.
“Katanya and Dunlop are adapting and settling into their new homes really well and are embracing the rest of the resident seals, which is fantastic to see. Sea Lions are known to be a hierarchal species, so it’s important we are mindful of this when introducing them to the seal family.”
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba is involved with a number of conservation initiatives and implements the strong ethical and environmental values of BREED, RESCUE and PROTECT.
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba completed a two year, $6.5 million refurbishment last year, introducing new zones, new species and Australia’s largest exhibit of jellyfish. Earlier this year the attraction also revealed a new Turtle Hospital dedicated to rehabilitating sick or injured turtles and implementing new turtle health checks.