PHOTOS: Stranded sea lion finds new home at Moody Gardens

Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens, Moody Gardens)

GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston nonprofit Moody Gardens is welcoming its latest addition to the North Pacific Exhibit as Annette the California sea lion settles into her new home at the Aquarium Pyramid.

She was moved from the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia, South Carolina.

“Introductions have begun this past week in the North Pacific Exhibit between the seals and sea lions as it will take some time for Annette to get acclimated to her new environment,” Moody Gardens said in a news release Wednesday. “Sea lion Sam is quite intrigued with his new friend, and biologists will be monitoring them closely to see how their chemistry builds.”

Moody Gardens noted Annette is estimated to be 21 years old and has a very unique history. “She was stranded, rehabilitated, and released on four separate occasions between December 2014 and June 2015,” the news release read. “Finally, after being stranded a fifth time, Annette was deemed non-releasable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and placed permanently in human care. Annette’s move to Texas is a recommendation from the AZA California Sea Lion Species Survival Plan.”

Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens)
Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens)
Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens)
Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens)
Annette, sea lion at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. (Moody Gardens)

“The zoos and aquariums all over the country work together to find companion animals all the time, so that is what happened in Annette’s case,” said Maggie Reynolds, senior biologist of seals and penguins, who discussed her arrival. “We were looking for a companion for Sam, our male sea lion here at Moody Gardens and Riverbanks Zoo & Garden was looking to place, Annette, their female sea lion into a new home. This worked out perfectly for both of us as we were able to welcome her here to Moody Gardens.”

There is a historical connection between Moody Gardens and Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Annette does live with other harbor seals which is a familiar setting. Riverbanks houses harbor seals with their sea lions and one seal named Riley was born at Moody Gardens in 2012.

Moody Gardens said Annette will be joining a fascinating group of mammals. Sam, a 600-pound male sea lion is full of excitement for his new companion and three other harbor seals named, Siku, Tomato, and Ravioli. Annette is expected to be a sweet addition to the other seals and sea lions at the exhibit.

Guests can see Annette in her new habitat at the Aquarium Pyramid. For more information please visit moodygardens.org or call 409-744-7473.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.