If you thought this week's baby zoo animal news was over, think again: A California sea lion pup is the newest arrival at the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute announced Friday.
The tiny sea lion was born on June 23 at 11 p.m., the zoo said, to a 14-year-old mother named Calli and an 11-year-old father named Jetty. The zoo said that staff are monitoring the pup and have observed it nursing, moving and vocalizing.
Because keepers are trying to get the pair to bond without interference, they may not be able to determine the pup's sex immediately, the zoo said.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, a program that works to ensure the survival of threatened or endangered species in the wild through pairings of individual animals, recommended the pairing between Calli and Jetty, who mated in June and July 2018.
Jetty then moved to the Queens Zoo in New York for the fall of 2018.
According to the zoo, the new sea lion pup is Calli's third babe and Jetty's second.
Calli and the baby sea lion are supposed to be kept away from the exhibit until Calli's behavior shows that she is willing and ready to introduce the pup to the three other sea lions in the colony.
"At that time, keepers will begin 'howdy' introductions through a mesh barrier where the other sea lions will be able to see, smell and interact with mom and pup," a spokesperson said in a news release.
Zoo keepers are also watching the pup's behavior to ensure that it is learning to swim well enough to be in a large pool. The pup is expected to be ready for a big public reveal in late summer.