Oregon Coast Aquarium Welcomes Nemo the California Sea Lion

Nemo the California Sea Lion

Newport, Oregon — The Oregon Coast Aquarium is thrilled to welcome a new addition to its sea lion colony: Nemo the 24 year old male California sea lion.

Nemo came to the Aquarium from Animal Training and Research International Center (ATR Intl) at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, affiliated with California State Universities and located in Monterey, California.

Prior to his arrival to ATR Intl in 1998, Nemo was found stranded at two years of age and received care at SeaWorld San Diego. Nemo was one of the many victims of El Niño conditions, a climate event that disrupts food chains and adversely impacts marine animals.

Nemo also sustained an injury to his jaw that required the removal of bone fragments and multiple teeth. As this would compromise his ability to catch prey, Nemo was deemed non-releasable.

ATR Intl suffered severe financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis; it was determined that finding new homes for their animals was the best way to ensure their long-term care and welfare.

“I’m glad to have found a facility with such a similar outlook of compassionate care to my own to provide the best ‘retirement home’ for Nemo at this point in his life,” said Owner of ATR Intl Dr. Jenifer Zeligs.

During his time at ATR Intl, Nemo participated in cooperative research training, education programs, and public outreach. Nemo has also been trained to participate in voluntary blood draws and many other medical behaviors; this training aids his caretakers in providing him with medical care. Nemo is considered a senior sea lion, and will receive ongoing specialized care to ensure he remains healthy and comfortable as he ages.

In the wild, California sea lions have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Under human care, they have an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years.

“He is already developing a good foundation of trust with OCAq’s mammalogists,” said OCAq’s Curator of Marine Mammals Brittany Blades. “Our staff has experience with caring for geriatric sea lions and focus on giving them the best quality of life we can while they are in their golden years.”

As is standard procedure, Nemo will spend 30 days in quarantine before he meets the rest of OCAq’s pinnipeds, including fellow California sea lions Catalina and Rosa.

“I am very excited to see his interactions with Catalina and Rosa,” said Blades. “Catalina and Rosa have already noticed there is a new sea lion in the quarantine pool. When the time comes, we expect introductions to go very well.”


About Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium creates unique and engaging experiences that connect you to the Oregon Coast and inspire ocean conservation. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates.

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2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd
Newport, OR 97365


The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Newport, on the beautiful Oregon Coast. The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.