A popular exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo will be closing soon as the two remaining sea lions will be shipped to a Chicago Zoo. The good news is that it is only temporary. The sea lions have been part of the zoo since in opened in 1974 and has always been a favorite of visitors. Executive Director Satch Krantz says that though they are saddened by the loss, in the end, it was the right decision.”The sweet part is that we know we can do a much better job in exhibiting sea lions,” said Krantz.
“We can provide them with a better environment. We can provide them with salt water. We can provide our guests with better experiences with underwater viewing. So, we see this as strictly a temporary move.”
Krantz says that new technology has made it time to improve the exhibit. “Back when it was built in 1973, about 36 years ago, it was probably one of the better sea lion exhibits in the country,” he said. “Over the years, technology has advanced. The use of salt water was not available to us 36 years ago. The use of manufactured salt water…times have just passed that exhibit by.”
Krantz says the new exhibit timetable will depend on funding.
“This is going to be an expensive endeavor. Keeping any animal under water, whether it’s a sea lion or a fish is not cheap, so we’ll be talking with our local governments and our donors over the next many months to see if we can’t come up with the funds necessary to build a new exhibit.”
Krantz says they expect to have sea lions back within three years.