Meet The Newest Addition To The National Zoo: A Baby Sea Lion

Pup-ular Science

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

A sea lion and her pup, which was born just a few days ago at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

It's a sea lion pup!

The pup was born on June 26, 2016. It (the sex of the sea lion is still unknown) is a Californian sea lion, one of the few sea lion species that is not currently endangered or threatened.

According to the Smithsonian's National Zoo, it is the second pup for the 11-year-old mother Calli, and the first for the father, Jetty. Calli and Jetty were chosen to mate through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, which matches up potential mates in order to maintain genetic diversity in zoo populations.

Calli was confirmed pregnant via an radiograph (x-ray) on April 20, and zookeepers kept a close eye on her. Zookeepers are monitoring the pup and mother, but are not interfering in the hopes of letting the pair bond.

Sea lions like the pup and her family are remarkably intelligent. They are the only non-human mammal that can keep time to a beat and in the past they have been trained to help search for underwater mines.

Sea Lion Pup

Sea Lion Pup

The pup is only a few days old.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Sea Lion Pup

Sea Lion Pup

The pup will stay in a protected enclosure with its mother until she decides that it's time to rejoin the National Zoo's sea lion colony.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Sea Lion Pup

Sea Lion Pup

The pup's sex will not be known for some time.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Sea Lion Pup

Sea Lion Pup

With the help of the National Zoo, Calli, the 11-year-old mother, gave birth undisturbed by humans.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Bonding Time

Bonding Time

Calli and the unnamed pup will join three other adult sea lions, including the pup's father, at a later date.Jacqueline Conrad, Smithsonian’s National Zoo