November 14, 2022
- as seen by -Stephanie Graehling
Marco is a two-year-old California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) pup that is currently living in the Aquatheater at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium. He helps educate guests in our daily Sea Lion Celebration shows.
Marco was born at the Aquarium to mother Dory and father Tacoma in our Sea Cliffs exhibit. Both parents were rescued animals. Marco got his name through a public naming contest. “Marco” was suggested because sea lions vocalize back and forth much like the popular water game, Marco Polo.
Marco is a unique animal. In comparison to other pups his age, Marco is remarkably calm and patient. He gets along well with all of the sea lions in the Aquatheater social group and will seek out our oldest and most dominant sea lion, Osborn, to snuggle with most nights. Marco also has an amazing relationship with three-year-old sea lion Erie. The two little ones will spend hours playing together each day.
Marco LOVES ice cubes. When our trainers give out ice for enrichment, he will spend as much time as it takes to pick up every single piece in his environment.
At only two years old, Marco is learning new things every day. He currently has 37 fully trained behaviors. One of his most impressive is to participate voluntarily in his vaccinations. Just like dogs and cats need annual vaccines, so do our animals. Marco is trained to present his rear end to our veterinary staff and holds still through the entire vaccination. Other behaviors he is currently working on include presenting his flippers and belly presentation, both of which allow trainers to perform daily body checks. He’s also being taught some high-energy behaviors such as a ball jump. He is very enthusiastic in his training sessions and all of the behaviors he is learning are key to providing him positive welfare. Each is designed to keep him both mentally engaged and physically active.