Recently, the Houston Zoo had a fantastic opportunity to add a male sea lion to our current sea lion family of two females, Cali and Kamia. The male, a 9 year old named Rockie, was located at Sea World in San Antonio and seemed to be a perfect match for our group.
After ironing out the arrangements and waiting for approval, it was finally moving day for Rockie! In the cool morning darkness that 5 a.m. provides, members of the Houston Zoo left in a large refrigerated truck filled with ice chests, veterinary supplies, and an assembly of additional equipment. The staff was prepared, and we were even accompanied by one of our highly experienced veterinarians. We wanted to be sure that Rockie would be as comfortable as possible during his trip to Houston!
A windy 4 hours later, we were at the gates of Sea World, anxious to meet Rockie. The Sea World staff was immensely professional, and had prepared Rockie so that he was relaxing and safely waiting for us in the transport crate. Soon, people were scurrying and forklifts were lifting, all to get Rockie buckled in and ready. When the crate had been lifted into the back of the truck, an impressive effort was made to safely secure the transport crate and monitor Rockie. Working in tandem, the Sea World staff and the Houston Zoo staff completed this task very efficiently. Some last minute inspections were completed for Rockie, and everything looked great! After some goodbyes and handshakes, we parted ways and the Houston Zoo team was on their way back to Houston with an additional member to their ranks.
It is important to note that when moving a sea lion, one of the main concerns is over-heating. For this reason, we made use of the refrigerated truck, keeping the truck at an enjoyable (for a sea lion) temperature. Also, we made sure to hydrate Rockie’s skin and fur in order to help him regulate his body heat. The whole Houston Zoo caravan stopped frequently to re-hydrate, check the temperature of the box, and assure Rockie that we were almost home.
After even more wind on the 5 hour trip home, we were back at the gates of the Houston Zoo triumphantly arriving with a happy and healthy sea lion. In the spirit of brevity, we reversed the entire loading process and slowly moved the transport crate through the Zoo to the sea lion area. Skillfully and carefully, our expert sea lion team shifted Rockie from the transport crate into his behind the scenes home. Rockie was exceedingly happy to stretch out and reveled in the attention he received from our staff.
Everyone was thrilled, thankful that the trip was completed with no hiccups or unplanned surprises. Rockie seemed the happiest, enjoying herring and splashing about in his new home.
We are excited to have Rockie with us, and look forward to sharing his dashingly handsome smile with you.