Oh baby! Sea lion pup born on Memorial Day with New York Aquarium guests looking on

Julie Larsen Maher_4234_California Sea Lion and Pup_AQ_06 04 21
Hi Brooklyn! A baby sea lion was born as aquarium guests looked on.
Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Visitors at the New York Aquarium experienced an unusual surprise on Memorial Day when a new member of the sea lion family arrived to celebrate the long weekend.

A California sea lion pup (Zalophus californianus) was born in full view of the aquarium’s morning crowd on May 31. The new pup is healthy and has yet to receive a name and the sex of the pup has yet to be determined.

Nap time! (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)

“It is unusual for visitors to have the opportunity to witness the birth of an animal at the aquarium,” said Craig Piper, interim New York Aquarium Director and WCS Director of City Zoos. “Aquarium staff were on hand to answer questions from the guests, and our keepers and veterinarians continue to closely monitor the pup’s development. This is a special birth that has been a wonderful experience for everyone.”

This is the fifth pup born at the aquarium since its first was born in 2010. This is the first pup born to Ariana, the pup’s mother, who has been attentive and protective of the young sea lion. As the pup grows, the ability for guests to view the pair may be temporarily limited. 

California sea lions are the only species that are exhibited in all five WCS parks in New York City – the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium. Sea lions are periodically moved between the parks for breeding to ensure the population is sustainable and genetically healthy.

Mwah! Ariana is very protective of her lil’ pup.(Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)