Zoo stunned at sea lion death

KEEPERS at Colchester Zoo said they are devastated following the death of Nia, a female sea lion.Although Nia was 22, a grand age for a sea lion, her death in the early hours of yesterday morning came as a huge blow to everyone at the zoo.

KEEPERS at Colchester Zoo said they are devastated following the death of Nia, a female sea lion.

Although Nia was 22, a grand age for a sea lion, her death in the early hours of yesterday morning came as a huge blow to everyone at the zoo.

Just two weeks earlier, she and the two other sea lions had been moved to a brand new purpose-built sea lion pool costing £1.8 million.

It was the largest one in the country and featured a record-breaking acrylic tunnel, which allowed visitors to view the sea lions from under the water.

Curator, Anthony Tropeano, said: "She had been drinking a lot of water over the past few months, so we thought she had liver or kidney problems. She was also uncomfortable on the land over the last couple of days, but we had no thought that she was close to death."

Nia had been at her previous enclosure for 10 years and at the zoo for almost all her life.

Most Read

Mr Tropeano said: "The move may have accelerated things – it will have been a stressful time. The oldest recorded captive sea lion was about 25. But we were hoping she'd get two years in a lovely big pool."

Nia was one of the zoo's three sea lions, but had shared her life at the zoo with Pat, a male sea lion, since 1985.

Mr Tropeano added: "Pat was somewhat distressed this morning, swimming around Nia's body. He knew something was wrong."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter