Steller sea lion pup in Vancouver aids research to rebuild species in Alaska

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VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium says one of its Steller sea lions has given birth to a healthy pup.

A statement from the aquarium says the birth occurred recently and the male pup, named Natoa, and his first-time mom, Rogue, are doing well.

Mom and pup are currently in a private area of the aquarium but the statement says they will be moved to the Seal Cove exhibit for public viewing.

Natoa is named after a sea lion birthing and resting area in Alaska, in recognition of efforts to rebuild the threatened Steller sea lion populations in that state.

The statement says the aquarium and a consortium of universities have been working on a project since 1993 to study the decline or disappearance of up to 75 per cent of wild sea lions in Alaska.

Mackenzie Neale, the animal care director at the aquarium, says the research and Natoa's birth are a key part of the program to rebuild the species.

"This program provides scientifically grounded and conservation-focused advice to support and further ensure a genetically diverse and sustainable global population for years to come," Neale says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version used an incorrect spelling for Steller sea lions.