West Edmonton Mall sea lion ‘humanely euthanized’ at 28 years old

A 28-year-old California sea lion, who had been at the West Edmonton Mall marine life department since 2004, passed away Wednesday, the mall said in a news release Thursday.

Kelpie had “far outlived her natural expectancy,” which the mall says averages between 15 and 20 years for California sea lions. At 28, she was considered “very geriatric for her species,” the WEM statement explained.

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“Kelpie was a favourite among staff and visitors alike, known for her eager personality, love of attention and high energy.

“The extremely hard decision to humanely euthanize Kelpie was made by our veterinary team after a thorough examination and with her best interests in mind,” the statement reads.

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“She will be fondly remembered as our most strong willed and brave sea lion. Kelpie loved using her unique voice to bark and was always ready to interact with her favourite toys.”

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The mall said its marine life facility had been the sea lion’s home since 2004, when she arrived from the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, where she was born in June 1994.

The mall said, like other zoos and aquariums, its marine life department becomes home to rescued or injured animals or animals that have been bred under human care and cannot survive in the wild.

“Marine life offers a safe and healthy habitat to many rescued animals,” the WEM said. “Some of them were abandoned pets, while others were illegally smuggled into Canada.”

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Animals are physically examined at the start and end of every day. Sea lions have their teeth brushed, and their diets are separated and weighed for each individual animal.

“Our thoughts are with Kelpie’s caretakers and all those who had the privilege of interacting with this wonderful and unique sea lion. We appreciate their dedication and compassion.”

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