Briney, the Tulsa Zoo’s 27-year-old female sea lion, was humanely euthanized on Friday, Dec. 20, after the discovery of an inoperable mass in her abdomen. The zoo’s animal health and care teams had been closely monitoring Briney, who had been facing a natural age-related decline in health.
“Our veterinary staff and our zookeepers constantly monitor our animals for any changes to quality of life. Briney’s recent health concerns necessitated a more comprehensive exam to ensure we could make an informed decision. Sadly the results confirmed our need to end her distress,” says Joe Barkowski, vice president of animal conservation and science at the Tulsa Zoo.
“At 27 years old, Briney was among the older California sea lions in human care and we had the privilege of caring for her for most of her life. She has a place in each of our hearts,” he says.
According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums California Sea Lion Species Survival Plan ®, the median life expectancy of a female sea lion is 22.3 years.
The Tulsa Zoo is home to three male sea lions, Dorsey, Briney’s exhibit companion, and Cisco and Reyes, who will be on exhibit in early 2014.
In honor of Briney, friends can share their memories on the Tulsa Zoo’s Facebook page and, beginning on Monday, on a special message board at the Helmerich Sea Lion Cove.