Gala-lujah! Sea lion arrives at Woburn Safari Park

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It was a joyous occasion for the staff at Woburn Safari Park last week, as they welcomed Gala the California Sea Lion, a transfer from Banham Zoo.

The 20-year-old female sea lion quickly settled in and bonded with her new companions, Kira and Leoni, who are half-sisters.

Keepers have noted that the sea lions’ first introductions went ‘swimmingly’ and Gala has quickly become a firm favourite among the Foot Safari keepers. Despite being a little cautious of her new friends at first, she has reportedly been coming out of her shell more and more each day since her arrival.

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So much in fact, keepers could be seen training all three sea lions together for the first time at Sea Lion Beach just a few days after Gala’s arrival. She was particularly keen to show off her flippers and impressive dives during the feed, much to the delight of lucky visitors seeing her for the first time.

Gala the Sea Lion being fed Gala the Sea Lion being fed
Gala the Sea Lion being fed

Gala is easy to distinguish from the other sea lions, as she has a distinctive slender snout and smaller frame. She has already been making her personality known to others and keepers have noted she is particularly vocal and loves to ‘bark’. Acting Deputy Head of Animal Encounters, Stacey Barker explained, ‘We have noticed that one of Gala’s favourite things to do is to bask in the water with her flippers high up in the air! She has quickly made herself right at home here at the Park.’

Gala is no stranger to movements across the globe, as she was born at Parc Zoologic de Barcelona, and has lived in animal collections from Madrid to Blackpool before her arrival at Banham Zoo. Despite her travels, the female sea lion will now settle into her new home with Kira and Leoni down at Sea Lion Beach at Woburn Safari Park. Keepers will spend the next few weeks working closely with Gala to build a lasting bond with her using specialist training - and plenty of yummy fish along the way!

Visitors can now spot Gala along with other sea lions Kira and Leoni during informative keeper demonstrations down at Sea Lion Beach within the Foot Safari.

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