RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - The newest addition to the Long Island Aquarium is an abandoned juvenile sea lion rescued from a beach in La Jolla, California.
"Mom would usually leave the pup on the beach to go off and feed herself and then there was a period of five days or so where they didn't see the mom come back at all," said Candyce Paparo, Director of Animal Training.
With help from Sea World San Diego's Rescue Center and private fundraising efforts, the aquarium raised money for her big cross-country trip. She flew by cargo plane late Thursday night and was picked up by the team to be brought to her new forever home.
"As soon as she came off the plane there was so much excitement because we knew we'd give her a great home," said Jenna Mercurio, who is a senior trainer.
She will be quarantined for 30 to 60 days to make sure she's completely clear of any disease that could be transferred to the other sea lions once introduced to them
"Sea lions are in general playful animals, we think they'll have a great introduction and get along great," Mercurio said.
After routine medical tests and basic training, visitors can see the pup who will be in her new habitat with three other California sea lions.
Experts say once they're abandoned they lack the skills to fend for themselves and become non-releasable.