Meet Milo – First California Sea Lion Born in The Bahamas
Island is proud to announce the birth of Milo, a healthy male California Sea Lion born at the marine mammal facility a few months ago weighing 16 pounds. His much anticipated birth marks several important firsts – he is the son of first-time mother Magnolia, known as Maggie, and first-time father Murray, both part of the marine mammal family at Dolphin Encounters. His birth is also the first time a California Sea Lion has ever been born in The Bahamas. To mark the occasion the baby sea lion was named in honour of Sir Milo B. Butler the first Governor General of The Bahamas.
“Milo has been a healthy, extremely playful baby sea lion since he was born,” said Robert Meister, Managing Director of Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island. “We are very proud of him. His parents came to Dolphin Encounters in September of 2006 after hurricane Katrina had destroyed their home in Gulfport, Mississippi. Milo’s birth is a confirmation that the animals are well-adjusted to their environment and continue to thrive.”
“Maggie has been a terrific mother beginning with giving birth,” said Kim Terrell, Marine Mammal Director of Dolphin Encounters. “She is a first-time mother but has done everything correctly. From nursing, disciplining her new pup, protecting him and keeping an eye on his many antics. Like any new mother she has her “hands” full – he’s a busy little guy and we are so pleased and honoured to have him be a part of our animal family. He continues to grow and is now a very healthy 39.5 pounds.”
For Kim Terrell, Milo’s birth has even more meaning. The former Director of Training at Marine Life Oceanarium and Marine Animal Productions in Gulfport Mississippi for fifteen years, Ms. Terrell has known Murray since he was born and knew Maggie’s relatives. She also followed their progress through Hurricane Katrina and was responsible for finding them their new home here at Dolphin Encounters in The Bahamas.
“Watching Milo being born just a year and a half after his parents came to live at Blue Lagoon Island was emotional,” said Ms. Terrell. “It is our first generation of sea lions and it confirms that they have completely adapted to their new home and that is an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Dolphin Encounters’ successful dolphin breeding programme has produced many successful dolphin births and has a survival rate that is double that of similar programs around the world and more than double the survival rate found in the wild. The success of the program is a result of the environment provided and the care received, including veterinary supervision, training, nutrition and the appropriate environment for socialization.
“Marine mammal breeding has uncertain outcomes, but we’ve had tremendous results with our dolphin calves, and now with the birth of our first sea lion pup Milo,” adds Ms. Terrell. “Also, the fact that 11 of our 18 dolphins were successfully born to our facility speaks for itself. Dolphin Encounters now has first and second generation dolphins that were born on Blue Lagoon Island. Milo is the beginning of the first generation of sea lions born to our sea lion family.”
The baby sea lion is quite a character and has already become very popular with the many schoolchildren that participate in the Dolphin Encounters – Project BEACH educational programmes as well as with guests that enjoy the new Sea Lion Encounter programme introduced earlier this year. The Sea Lion Encounter Program, the first of its kind in The Bahamas, is based on Dolphin Encounters’ highly successful and award-winning dolphin interactive programs and allows guests to meet California sea lions up-close in their pristine all-natural marine mammal habitat.
Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island is home to a family of 18 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and six California sea lions. Dolphin Encounters is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA), the largest organisation of its kind. In 1997, the facility was accepted into the prestigious Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), and in 2004 became an accredited member of the group, cementing its status as one of the top marine parks in the world. In 2003, Dolphin Encounters and Project B.E.A.C.H. received the prestigious Cacique Award, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s highest honour for excellence in tourism and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The facility has also made the lifetime dream of many children come true by participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation program.
For more information about Dolphin Encounters visit www.dolphinencounters.com or call 242-363-7150 (general inquiries) or 242-363-1003 (reservations)