Two rescued California sea lions are making their debut at the Tulsa Zoo this week. Three-year-old Reyes and four-year-old Cisco arrived at the zoo last year from the Marine Mammal Care Center in Southern California.
Cisco and Reyes’ stories begin off the coast of California, where they nearly lost their lives. Reyes lost his eye due to an infection, and Cisco had an injury from a shark that could have caused him to lose his mobility. Cisco and Reyes were rescued by the Marine Mammal Care Center, where they received state-of-the-art care, and they were ultimately nursed back to health. It was ultimately determined that the young sea lions could not be released back into the wild due to their injuries.
Last year, Tulsa Zoo staff accompanied Cisco and Reyes as they traveled from the Marine Mammal Care Center to their new zoo home at Helmerich Sea Lion Cove. Cisco and Reyes underwent a standard quarantine period, and Helmerich Sea Lion Cove underwent exhibit modifications to ensure the exhibit was suitable for the two young sea lions.
Cisco and Reyes will be on exhibit for a few hours each day as they become fully acclimated to their new surroundings. They will alternate being in the main exhibit with the zoo’s third sea lion, 21-year-old Dorsey.
California sea lions live in healthy populations along the western coast of North America. Like all marine mammals, California sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.