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Sea lions get into spirit of Commonwealth Games with activities

The sea lions at a safari park have been celebrating the start of the Commonwealth Games by trying out some of the sports with their keepers.

Sea Lion Jack has been testing out his basketball, netball and volleyball skills too, with some catching and throwing. Photo: Matthew Lissimore
Sea Lion Jack has been testing out his basketball, netball and volleyball skills too, with some catching and throwing. Photo: Matthew Lissimore

Callum, Jack and Bounty, three California sea lions, have been putting their skills to the test by seeing just how well they can dive, swim, jump and even catch and throw a ball at West Midlands Safari Park.

Many of these skills are behaviours that sea lions would exhibit in the wild, but keepers at the wildlife attraction will often add an array of play items to the sea lion habitat, as part of their enrichment, to help them explore and interact with.

The park's head of wildlife, Angela Potter, said, "Here at West Midland Safari Park, we always like to involve the animals with any celebrations and the Commonwealth Games is no different, especially as it's taking place nearby, in Birmingham.

"We have no doubt that our three sea lions would give some of the athletes great competition, especially the divers, swimmers and even the basketball, netball and volleyball players.

"It’s really important we give our sea lions lots of different objects to interact with, such as a diving platform, balls and rings.

"Using these items, simulates natural behaviours, such as diving for food, chasing fish and using their powerful flippers to push out of the water.

"We'd like to wish the best of luck to all the athletes and we, along with the sea lions, will be cheering on Team England."

The three sea lions can be seen in the daily sea lion shows at the park, where keepers educate their guests about sea lion behaviour and reveal interesting facts about the sea lions’ different personalities.

The keepers also demonstrate how they do daily health checks, including how the sea lions have learned cues to open their mouths and stretch out their flippers, so that keepers can check their teeth and bodies.

To find out more about West Midlands Safari Park, go to wmsp.co.uk or telephone 01299 402114.

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