News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351, sondra.katzen@czs.org

September 24 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orphaned California Sea Lions Find Home at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. – Two approximately 2-year-old female California sea lions now have a new home at Brookfield Zoo. They were both found stranded and unable to care for themselves after being weaned from their mothers. The juvenile sea lions arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on the evening of Sept. 18 thanks to the generosity of FedEx. Zoo staff named one of the sea lions Carolyn, after the FedEx agent who assisted in making the travel arrangements. FedEx staff named the second female Sabiena (pronounced Sa-bean-ah), in honor of a Chicago team member who is also the company’s No. 1 volunteer in the community.

“We are thrilled to be able to safely deliver Carolyn and Sabiena to their new home, and we are so proud the rescued animals are named after two of our outstanding team members,” said Jenny Robertson, vice president, Corporate Communications, FedEx. “This special shipment is part of our FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative where we use our global network to deliver precious cargo where it’s needed most.”

Sabiena was found in May 2018 at Westward Beach in Malibu, California, and rescued by staff from Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) in San Pedro. She had multiple puncture wounds and fishhooks in her body and one of her eyes, which led to a ruptured cornea. Sabiena was also extremely malnourished weighing just 31 pounds—an animal her age should weigh about 100 pounds. Due to the limited vision in her remaining eye, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deemed Sabiena un-releasable.

Six months later and about 90 miles farther down the Pacific coast, Carolyn was found dehydrated, malnourished (weighing just 46 pounds), and appeared to not be able to fend for herself. Stranded on the beach near Dana Point Harbor in November 2018, Carolyn was rescued by staff from Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach. At that time, the 1-year-old yearling had lacerations on one of her flippers and chest from a possible boat propeller or a bite from a shark or an adult sea lion. In addition, x-rays revealed that Carolyn had 30 to 40 stones in her stomach, which is presumed to be why she was not eating. Once the stones passed, she started eating again and was released back to the wild in January 2019. However, just a month later she was found again at the harbor looking emaciated. Back at PMMC she started eating again from staff. Another exam revealed she had

cataract in her right eye. At that time, NMFS officials determined she would not be able to survive on her own, and she too, needed a forever home.

“It is unfortunate that Carolyn and Sabiena had such a rough start in life, which is why we are honored to be able to assist National Marine Fisheries Service in providing a good home for both of them,” said Rita Stacey, marine mammal curator for CZS. “We are extremely grateful to FedEx for providing the transportation of the sea lions to Chicago. This minimized the travel time, which greatly benefits the animals’ transition to their new home.”

Before making their journey to Brookfield Zoo, Carolyn and Sabiena were introduced to each other at PMCC. In addition, Chicago Zoological Society animal care specialists flew out to California to meet both sea lions and get familiar with each of their different personalities as well as accompanied the animals back to Illinois aboard the FedEx cargo plane.

Following a complete physical examination at the zoo’s Animal Hospital and getting acclimated to their behind-the-scenes quarters as well as the marine mammal animal care team, Carolyn and Sabiena are expected to make their debut to zoo guests in mid-October. Eventually, they may be introduced to Brookfield Zoo’s other pinnipeds that included four male California sea lions, ranging from 2 months to 18 years old; four female California sea lions ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old; a male gray seal; and two female gray seals.

The marine mammal staff at Brookfield Zoo has the expertise in caring for pinnipeds with similar backgrounds, including Josie, who was abandoned on her birthday by her mother. She has since given birth to two pups, Lucy and Charger, who was just born in June 2019.

Because Carolyn and Sabiena were born in the wild, they are extremely valuable genetically to the North American zoo population. California sea lions are managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Population Management Plan (PMP), a program that ensures the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population for the long-term survival of the zoo population. The Sea Lion PMP is managed by Mairim Martinez, senior animal care specialist for CZS. In this role, Martinez is responsible for the California Sea Lion Studbook, a record of the species’ pedigree and the demographic history of each individual in the accredited North American zoo population.

About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit CZS.org.

Photo Captions

1: FedEx team members unload two California sea lions, who were orphaned and are now making their home at Brookfield Zoo. The company generously provided the transportation of the sea lions from the west coast to Chicago. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

2: Sabiena and Carolyn, two orphaned California sea lions arrive at O’Hare International Airport from the west coast. FedEx generously provided the animals’ transportation to Chicago. The sea lions are making their new home at Brookfield Zoo. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

3: Carolyn, an orphaned California sea lion, when she first arrived at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in California. She was found stranded on a beach dehydrated, malnourished, and appeared to not be able to fend for herself. (Photo courtesy Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

0603: An ultrasound is performed on Carolyn, a California sea lion, during a routine physical examination. The approximately 2 year old was orphaned and unable to fend for herself in the wild. She now has a forever home at Brookfield Zoo. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

0836: Chicago Zoological Society marine mammal staff, Mairim Martinez (left) and Beth Miller, with two California sea lions who are making their new home at Brookfield Zoo. The staff flew out to the west coast to meet the new additions and accompany them back to Chicago. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

0839: Dr. Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine, positions Carolyn, a California sea lion, in the CT scanner at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital. The sea lion arrived at the zoo on September 18. Officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service deemed her unreleasable to the wild.

0908: Small stones were found in the stomach of Carolyn, a California sea lion, during a physical exam. When she was first rescued in 2018 on the west coast, x-rays revealed that she had 30 to 40 stones in her stomach, which is presumed to be why she was not eating. Officials determined she would not be able to survive on her own in the wild, and she is now being cared for at Brookfield Zoo. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

0950: During a physical exam at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital, Dr. Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine, performs an endoscopy on Carolyn, a California sea lion. Several foreign objects that she consumed on a beach in California were detected and removed from her stomach. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

7857: Carolyn, a California sea lion, has a new home at Brookfield Zoo after it was determined by National Marine Fisheries Service officials that she would not survive on her own in the wild. She was originally found stranded on the beach near Dana Point Harbor in California dehydrated and malnourished. (Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

7861: Sabiena, a California sea lion, has a new home at Brookfield Zoo after officials with the National Marine Fisheries Service deemed her unreleasable back to the wild. She was found at Westward Beach in Malibu, California, with multiple puncture wounds and fishhooks in her body and one of her eyes, which led to a ruptured cornea and the removal of the eye. (Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

8880: Chicago Zoological Society, marine mammal care staff check in on Sabiena and Carolyn, two California sea lions, after landing in Chicago. The two females, who were orphaned along the west coast and deemed unreleasable by the National Marine Fisheries Services, will have a forever home at Brookfield Zoo. (Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

8971: A crew from FedEx and staff from the Chicago Zoological Society get ready to transfer Sabiena and Carolyn, two California sea lions into a van bound for Brookfield Zoo. FedEx generously provided the transportation of the sea lions from the west coast to Chicago. (Credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

MEDIA CONTACT:

Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071
E-mail: Sondra.Katzen@CZS.org

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