Governor Corbett Names Sea Lion Pup

(Pittsburgh) (August 2011) – Governor Tom Corbett will name the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s new sea lion pup, born on June 10, Sophie, after former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff. Since the pup is moving with her mom, Callie, to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, next spring, the Governor chose Sophie because Mayor Masloff is a strong representative of the Pittsburgh region. “That is why we thought it would be perfect to ask the new Governor to name our pup,” says Frank Cartieri, vice president and chief operations officer of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. “We are grateful for Governor Corbett’s affirmation that the Zoo is a valuable cultural asset, and we appreciate that he recognizes the contribution we have made to southwestern Pennsylvania being named as one of the country’s most livable regions.”

With three sea lion births in the last three years, the Pittsburgh Zoo has emerged as one of the top centers in the U.S. for sea lion breeding and husbandry. Mom Callie has been visiting from the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, since October 2009, awaiting a newly constructed habitat. She became pregnant with Pittsburgh Zoo’s male sea lion, Hawk, and the pup was born after an approximately 11-month gestation period. Callie was stranded in the wild and deemed unable to be released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, as was the pup’s father, Hawk. This makes the pup one of the most genetically valuable sea lions in U.S. Zoos.

Sea lions typically mate in July and August. Gestation is nine months, but the egg isn’t fertilized until two to three months after mating, so pups are generally born in the summer, when food is more plentiful. Sea lions normally give birth to one pup, but on rare occasions, twins have been born.

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The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is open year round. For directions, hours, tickets and group sales information, call 412 665-3640. Visit the Zoo’s website at www.pittsburghzoo.org . The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. For more information visit www.aza.org