The population of rare Australian Sea-lions has been boosted following the birth of a male pup at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Australians are being asked to pick a name for him. Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Australian Sea-lion is one of the rarest in the world and is only found in South Australia and the southern tip of Western Australia.

“This little pup is a vital addition to Taronga’s breeding program for this endangered species. This is why we are asking Australians to choose one of two possible names for him,” she said. Ms Upton said the pup was born on 6 November to first-time mum Nala and is healthy and extremely active.

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“He now weighs 12kg, having gained a whopping 5kg since his first weigh-in five weeks ago. Ten-year-old Nala and her own mother, Kira, were also born at Taronga, making this new pup a third-generation Sea-lion in the zoo’s breeding program. “The pup was sired by Charlie, an 11-year-old Australian Sea-lion bull who was rescued as an orphan when he was young and who came to Taronga from Sea World as part of the regional breeding program for this species.”

“Nala is a really natural first-time mum and is taking great care of the little pup,” said Danielle Fox, Supervisor of Taronga’s Marine Mammal Department. “She doesn’t stray too far from him for long – she watches him closely while he’s in the water and if he seems to be struggling she will quickly pull him out.”

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The two suggested names are:
· Arno: A geographical name relating to a beach on Kangaroo Island where Australian Sea-lions are found; or
· Torre: A tribute to long-standing Marine Mammal Keeper Ady D’Ettorre, who has worked at Taronga Zoo Sydney for 35 years and is retiring in 2019.

Entries will be taken until 18 December 2018 and the name is expected to be announced by 21 December 2018.