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  #1
London zoo sealions/seals
Old 31-10-2009

How long were they at the zoo for?

Why did they go?

Where was the exhibit in the zoo?

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  #2
Old 31-10-2009

The sea lions, and later fur seals, had remained in their original for over ninety years: 1907 to 1997.

The exact reasons I don't know, but they were to make way for pygmy hippos. Which comes to your third question, their enclosure was the current outdoor hippo pool and surrounding bank. You can still see the large rock at the front which acted as shelter and a diving platform.
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  #3
Old 31-10-2009

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Originally Posted by Zambar View Post
The sea lions, and later fur seals, had remained in their original for over ninety years: 1907 to 1997.
The sea-lion pool was actually constructed in 1905; this wasn’t the original sea-lion pool, though, as they had been kept elsewhere in the zoo prior to that.
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  #4
Old 31-10-2009

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The sea lions, and later fur seals, had remained in their original for over ninety years: 1907 to 1997.

The exact reasons I don't know, but they were to make way for pygmy hippos. Which comes to your third question, their enclosure was the current outdoor hippo pool and surrounding bank. You can still see the large rock at the front which acted as shelter and a diving platform.
oh that's weird I was looking at the pygmy hippo pool yesterday (I went ot the zoo) and it made me wonder whether they had ever had sealions. I would have thought the pool was far too shallow for them though!

Personally, although I am slightly bias, I would have thought that the public would prefer sealions/seals to pygmy hippos. I guess it all comes down to the casson problem.
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  #5
Old 31-10-2009

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Originally Posted by sealion View Post
Personally, although I am slightly bias, I would have thought that the public would prefer sealions/seals to pygmy hippos.
The Sealions were indeed a long established, popular and 'classic' exhibit at ZSL. I think they were removed when the zoo changed over to being more 'conservation- orientated' in the early '90's. It was a good exhibit too- large pool with a couple of rocky 'islets' in the middle and of course feeding time was always a huge draw. I'm sure many people still miss them- for me the zoo has never been quite the same without the bull sealion's yelping call resounding around the grounds.
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  #6
Old 31-10-2009

I'd rather see sea lions back in the old pool (it is quite deep) with perhaps a bit of extension into the rest of the hippo enclosure. The hippos don't particuarly make a good display, and it would end the tiring routine of moving two and from the Casson.
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  #7
Old 31-10-2009

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Originally Posted by Zambar View Post
I'd rather see sea lions back in the old pool (it is quite deep) with perhaps a bit of extension into the rest of the hippo enclosure. The hippos don't particuarly make a good display, and it would end the tiring routine of moving two and from the Casson.
I wonder whether they could put the sealions with the hippos, like the have a longleat. That would be strange. Or they should excavate one of the outdoor bits of the casson and put in a new sealion pool i'm not sure what they would do with the indoor bit, but they could "rock it out" and everything outside.
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  #8
Seals too.
Old 31-10-2009

There were also two circular, and I would say small seal pools. The larger of the two was certainly still in use in the mid 1970s and probably into the 1980s, as a seal pool for grey seals. I never saw them out of the water, they seemed to swim round and round aimlessly. It was originally a panda pit and was directly in line with the penguin pool, about half way towards the Casson Pavillion. Once the seals moved out it housed cormorants and then small mammals for a while and the disappeared into the childrens' zoo.

There was a smaller circular seal pool too. It was close to the larger one and towards the southern boundary fence of the zoo.

The californian sealions in the pool which is now part of the pigmy hippo enclosure used to dive fearlessly from their rock outcrop into the pool. There was a concrete viewing platform with some small enclosures underneath. I think it is still there with a kiosk of some sort in it and the enclosures off show or disused.
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  #9
Old 31-10-2009

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I wonder whether they could put the sealions with the hippos, like the have a longleat.
A scientific establishment like ZSL would never create an unnatural mixed exhibit like that. I don't think you will see Californian sealions at London again.
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  #10
Old 31-10-2009

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Originally Posted by Pacu View Post
There were also two circular, and I would say small seal pools. The larger of the two was certainly still in use in the mid 1970s and probably into the 1980s, as a seal pool for grey seals. I never saw them out of the water, they seemed to swim round and round aimlessly. It was originally a panda pit and was directly in line with the penguin pool, about half way towards the Casson Pavillion. Once the seals moved out it housed cormorants and then small mammals for a while and the disappeared into the childrens' zoo.

There was a smaller circular seal pool too. It was close to the larger one and towards the southern boundary fence of the zoo.
Indeed, the old grey seal pool was originally a panda pit; it housed the famous giant panda ‘Chi-Chi’ for a short while.

The other seal pool near the southern boundary once held Baikal seals.

Last edited by Tim May; 01-11-2009 at 03:52 AM..
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  #11
Old 01-11-2009

Just to clarify, the sealion pool was the now drained rocky pool next to the anoa paddock, which has also housed the hippos, not the pool in the current hippo enclosure which is part of the Casson Pavillion.

The pool inside the building did once house a walrus.

I think sealions or fur seals would be a nice exhibit in the (since the eighties/early nineties) scaled down zoo, popular with visitors but not taking important space away from important conservation work.
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  #12
Old 01-11-2009

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Originally Posted by Pertinax View Post
A scientific establishment like ZSL would never create an unnatural mixed exhibit like that. I don't think you will see Californian sealions at London again.
It's strange how longleat have the sealions in a freshwater lake AND with hippos. It just popped into my mind as we were talking about hippos and sealions!

It's a shame, I think most people would rather see sealions than pigmy hippos to be honest.
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  #13
Old 01-11-2009

I am interested in Shirokuma's observation that a walrus has been housed in the Casson Pavillion. It is not something I have heard or read of before. Shirokuma, do you have any more information about that?
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  #14
Old 01-11-2009

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Originally Posted by Pacu View Post
I am interested in Shirokuma's observation that a walrus has been housed in the Casson Pavillion. It is not something I have heard or read of before. Shirokuma, do you have any more information about that?
there is actually a postcard for sale on ebay at the moment of someone feeding the walrus dated 1932

London Zoo Life Pet Walrus & Keeper scene photo 1932 - eBay (item 360199437853 end time Nov-17-09 05:35:08 PST)
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  #15
Old 01-11-2009

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I am interested in Shirokuma's observation that a walrus has been housed in the Casson Pavillion. It is not something I have heard or read of before.
A young walrus named 'Alice' was kept in the indoor elephant bathing pool; she was purchased in 1966. Sadly she did not live long; the annual report for 1967 states that she died as the result of an accident.
 


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