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Houston Zoo reveals gender, name of baby sea lion

HOUSTON – The Houston Zoo's baby sea lion now has a name! The five-week-old male California sea lion has been named Max by two of the zoo's donors.

Jim and Beverly Postl won the honor of naming the pup at the zoo's annual fundraising gala, Zoo Ball, in April. The Postls are longtime Houston Zoo supporters, and Jim serves on the zoo's board of directors.

Jim says he chose the name because, "I wanted my grandsons to call me Max. However, my wife and daughters thought I was out of my mind and nixed that." So now Jim can proudly call his favorite sea lion by this beloved moniker.

The pup has also begun taking swim lessons behind the scenes. Unlike most marine mammals, sea lions don't swim when they are born, so they must be taught gradually by their mothers. Max's mother, Cali, has been cautiously allowing Max to play in ever-increasing depths of water under the careful supervision of his trainers.

WATCH: Houston Zoo's new baby sea lion, Max

Currently, Max is swimming in about 3 feet of water. Next, the trainers will continue to deepen the water in the pool, as well as introduce Max to the other three California sea lions, before he makes his public debut several weeks from now.

PHOTOS: Meet baby sea lion, Max

As ambassadors for the sustainable seafood Take Action initiative, the zoo's sea lions help guests understand that the choices they make can save animals in the wild. The zoo's sea lions consume 23,850 pounds of responsibly caught, sustainable fish each year.

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