Safari park welcomes first California sea lion pup born in Scotland in decades

Otis and mum Ineke <i>(Image: Dave Warren)</i>
Otis and mum Ineke (Image: Dave Warren)

A wildlife park has announced the arrival of a sea lion pup – the first of its species born in Scotland in decades.

Staff at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling said its sea lion Ineke had given birth on Tuesday following an 11-month pregnancy.

The pup has been named Otis by its keepers.

It is the first Californian sea lion to be born at the park, and the first in at least 20 years to be born in Scotland.

Otis is in the very early stages of development, but park officials confirmed he and his mother are both well.

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The park said Ineke has quickly adapted to her new role as a mother, and keepers are closely monitoring the pair to check their wellbeing.

Sea lion mothers nurse and care for their infants closely over the first year of development and often spend much of their time indoors.

The park recently introduced a new habitat for sea lions that includes a specialised area specifically for rearing pups.

It features a shallow pool where the pups can safely play and explore.

Shane Belson, the sea lion team leader at the safari park, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Otis to our family.

“Ineke is proving to be a great mum, and little Otis is growing more confident and curious every day. California sea lions are such a charismatic species and really help us to educate our visitors about the importance of marine biodiversity.

“Though not currently endangered, in the wild these pinnipeds rely on a carefully balanced marine environment, which is now increasingly under threat. We can all take steps to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and shop more sustainably.”