Sea lion pups get into the swim of things

August 31, 2010 (BROOKFIELD, Ill.) They're settling in nicely, but they're still a little wary of ABC7's Frank Mathie, who, along with the curator of marine animals, joined the female pups behind the scenes at Brookfield Zoo,

"Well, we're giving them some time to get used to us in their area. As you can see they are very curious of us being here in the area," said Rita Stacey, curator, Marine Mammals at Brookfield Zoo. "We're going to get used to them being in their area and then we're going to try and feed them."

The two female pups were born in early June right on the pier at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco and they were immediately abandoned by their mothers. A California marine mammal center rescued and cared for them until they were sent to Brookfield Zoo. In a month and a half they have doubled their weight to 30 pounds.

"We want the pups to associate the milk coming from these bins and not necessarily from us. We don't want them to think of us as sea lions," said Stacey.

Sea lions are fabulous swimmers-- reaching up to 20 miles an hour under water. They're like torpedoes, they're naturals. But they still have to learn to swim.

"When we introduced them to our pool we actually had trainers in the water with them to make sure they could easily get in and out of the water," said Stacey.

Within a month or so the two pups should be joining their big cousins on exhibit.

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