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Lexie getting an ultra sound by her Keeper, Brad. Photo by Jonny Weeks | The Guardian

Taronga Zoo is thrilled to announce the pregnancy of our Australian Sea-Lion, Lexie.

Lexie has been at Taronga for about 14 years since she was two years of age. Lexie was rescued at Kangaroo Island as an orphan by a boat charter operator who had seen her on a number of times without her mum and saw her condition increasingly deteriorate.

The father is ten year old Charlie, who is a first time father. He was also rescued as an orphan when he was young.

Lexie’s 18 months gestation period is almost over and Keepers expect the birth to be natural as Lexie is a second time mum, her first is Max who is two years old.

Keepers will get warning signs a few days before the birth when Lexie starts to look uncomfortable and is less interested in food. There is always a risk of complications occurring with births, as with any human birth so Keepers and Vets will be on hand in case they are needed.

The birth will take place in Taronga’s brand new birthing suite that has been purpose built for seals and sea-lions. The suite is a quiet area that allows mum to give birth and be able to access the water without the pup being able to reach the water, as it will be too young to know how to swim.  

Taronga’s commitment to breeding for marine mammals has been really focussed on Australian Sea-Lions in the past few years. Their population is declining, they are classified as an endangered species and they are not housed outside of Australia. The main threats to sea-lions in the wild are dangerous floating debris, overfishing of oceans, which is a huge threat to their food source as well as disruption to breeding areas. There are only four facilities that hold Australian Sea-Lions and only two (including Taronga) which are actively breeding, which makes every birth very significant for population and gene pool growth.

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