Asheboro, NC — The North Carolina Zoo on Thursday acquired two young California sea lions rescued by Sea World of San Diego after being abandoned or losing their mothers.

The two young marine mammals, a male and a female estimated to be 16 months old, arrived via FedEx air freight at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro Thursday evening and were transported by truck to the zoo in Asheboro. At the zoo the pair were placed into the Seal/Sea Lion holding quarters in the RJR Nabisco Rocky Coast exhibit complex where they will remain in quarantine for 30 days—a  requirement for any new animals arriving at the zoo.

After their quarantine period, the two sea lions will join a pair of male Harbor seals already exhibited at the Rocky Coast. “Storm,” the female, and “Dyson,” the male, were both found stranded on La Jolla Beach near San Diego in June 2012.   

Both animals were rescued by Sea World of San Diego, which has saved more than 400 marine mammals over the past year--an average  of 12 per day. Most of the animals are rehabilitated and returned to the wild. But a few, like Storm and Dyson, cannot be released for various reasons. These animals are owned by the National Marine Fisheries Service and, when possible, are placed on loan to accredited U.S. zoos and aquariums. 

Storm and Dyson’s journey to the N.C. Zoo began at 5 a.m. Thursday when they were loaded into their specially-designed crate at Sea World. They were escorted during the entire trip by N.C. Zoo Mammal Curator Adrian Fowler, Keeper Supervisor Jeff Owen, Rocky Coast Keeper Mariko Bushcamp and Sea World trainer Jennifer Shorey. Shorey will remain with the sea lions at the N.C. Zoo for several days to help settle them into their new home.

 The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.