Get Up Close
Come nose to snout with Steller sea lions at Steller’s Bay, a new exhibit that spotlights these majestic and mysterious creatures, only at Vancouver Aquarium. Transported to a fishing village on Canada’s west coast, you will delight as you experience sea lions basking brilliantly in the sun and hear them roaring in spectacular chorus. Below the surface stands huge underwater viewing windows where visitors will be immersed in a sea lion’s world, getting up-close as the dynamic animals glide through the water with incredible power and agility.
Research In Action
This spectacular new exhibit prominently features an active research station, bringing our behind-the-scenes research to the forefront and allowing visitors to deep dive into the critical role these animals play in conserving their counterparts in the wild.
Building on a strong, trusting relationship with the Aquarium’s marine mammal trainers, the Steller sea lions living at the Aquarium have become excellent research assistants. In a collaborative effort, the trainers and sea lions are working with University of British Columbia scientists to understand the mysterious disappearance of 80 per cent of the wild Steller sea lion population. Visitors can observe the trainers as they feed and care for these animals, lead enrichment exercises, and collect valuable metabolic information, such as weight, heart rate, and breathing rate; these readings contribute to ongoing studies.
Mystery Of The Disappearing Steller Sea Lions
When the scientific community noticed the significant Steller sea lion population decline, UBC scientist Dr. Andrew Trites connected with then-president of the Vancouver Aquarium Murray Newman to explore how both organizations could collaborate and find a solution to this mystery. Twenty-five years later, the research continues; UBC scientists Dr. Trites and Dr. David Rosen work closely with Aquarium trainers and the Steller sea lions living at the Aquarium to study diet, including the quantity and quality of food necessary for survival, as well as how they source their food.
Incredible Learning Opportunities
The Aquarium’s interpreters and trainers have come together to offer special Steller sea lion programs, introducing guests to these intriguing animals, demonstrating the compelling relationship between trainers and the animals, and guiding them though leading-edge conservation research. In another Aquarium first, interpreters and trainers are taking the collaboration to another level while demonstrating how sea lions dive for food and will offer an interactive program from the above-water research station and the underwater viewing area at the same time.