Two California sea lion pups born just a week apart at Brookfield Zoo this month are the first of their species born at the west suburban zoo in nearly 30 years.
The first pup, a female, was born June 4 to 7-year-old Josephine, the zoo announced Tuesday. A week later, on June 11, roughly 9-year-old Arie gave birth to a male pup. The pups share the same father, Tanner.
California sea lion ups are born in June and July, and weigh between 13 and 20 pounds at birth.
The pups are currently behind the scenes bonding with their mothers, being monitored by zoo staff, and learning how to swim, according to the zoo. They are expected to make their public debut at their outdoor habitat in a few weeks.
The pups are extremely important to the genetic diversity of the North American sea lion zoo population because all three parents were born in the wild, according to the zoo. Josephine was abandoned by her mother at Pier 39 in San Francisco, a popular tourist attraction; and Arie was found stranded on a beach. Tanner was removed from the wild by NOAA Fisheries for feeding on a federally protected endangered species of salmon in the Columbia River.