November 14, 2003
Contact: Peper Long 202-673-0206
Zoo Sea Lion Loses Battle with Pneumonia
Smithsonian’s National Zoological
Park veterinarians euthanized “Norman,” the
26-year-old male California sea lion at 4:10 p.m. today,
after a fierce battle with pneumonia, which lasted
Norman, who weighed nearly 600 pounds, was wild-born in May 1977, and orphaned as a pup. The National Zoo acquired Norman from Marineland in California, on Oct. 12, 1978.
Since then, Norman, and the Zoo’s surviving female sea lion "Maureen,” have become favorites of Zoo visitors and featured participants in animal demonstrations. Zoo veterinary and animal care staff worked diligently, using behavioral training methods to deliver antibiotics and other medication to treat his illness.
"Norman has been a part of the Zoo family for years,” said Linda Moore, National Zoo biologist. “We all worked together to keep him comfortable, and when that was no longer possible, we made the decision to euthanize.”
California sea lions – Zalophus californianus – live off the Pacific coast from British Columbia to Baja California, and have a life span of approximately 20 years. Sea lions have two sets of flippers, which help them move on both land and sea. The bone structure of their front flippers allows for powerful strokes in the water, helping sea lions reach swimming speeds of 25 mph.