Audubon Zoo entrance

Sea Lions

Make a splash on your next trip to the Zoo with Audubon’s California sea lions!

Check out the Zoo Scoop for daily presentation times when these incredibly intelligent marine mammals show off their smarts during their daily training sessions. The sea lions are always a crowd favorite and don't miss the underwater viewing area!

Audubon Zoo has welcomed a pair of female sea lions who were recovering from injuries and health problems at the Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles in San Pedro. The newcomers have settled in, and have now joined the Zoo’s family of four sea lions.

Audubon staff have gotten to know the new sea lions well and chose the perfect names to match their personalities and back stories—“Ayah,’’ which means “miracle’’ in Arabic and “Jolee,’’ which means beautiful in French.

Having Ayah and Jolee join our sea lion family is an honor. We couldn’t be happier to give them a home here at Audubon Zoo. They are already amazing ambassadors for their species and we hope their stories will inspire our guests to be more aware of how humans impact our fragile oceans and what we all can do to help.

In June 2017, Jolee was found stranded on a jetty off the El Segundo coast suffering from malnourishment, an injury in her left eye, and flipper abrasions. In addition, she has cataracts in both eyes and is visually impaired. Jolee, who gets around by following Ayah, can see better when it’s cloudy and uses her vibrissae (the bristle-like hairs on a sea lion’s face) when needed.

The same month, Ayah was rescued off the Malibu coast. She, too, was malnourished and a later examination revealed that she had a small caliber bullet in the right side of her brain. While the injury resulted in the loss of the left eye, miraculously she suffered no neurological damage. While Ayah has some scarring on the right cornea, she can still see with that eye. Her recovery is remarkable.

“Not every facility wants to take in sea lions with visual issues, but Audubon literally saved their lives by accepting them. We are deeply grateful. For me, these two animals are all about resilience. New Orleans is a perfect home for them,” says Lauren Palmer, staff veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles.