National Zoo investigates what killed young sea lion

Mom sea lion Cali and 2-year-old pup Sophie at the National Zoo in 2012. (National Zoo Flickr)

WASHINGTON — A keeper at the National Zoo made a sad discovery Friday morning. One of the zoo’s female sea lions was dead.

The zoo’s veterinarians and pathologists are doing a necropsy to test for the cause of 2-year-old Sophie’s death.

Sophie lived in the enclosure with two other female sea lions and her mother, Callie, says zoo spokesperson Devin Murphy.

“We actually don’t have any scientific data on whether California sea lions grieve or not. So our keepers are going to be monitoring Callie and all of our California sea lions closely over the next days and weeks just to keep an eye on them,” Murphy says.

Keepers say Sophie’s behavior the night before her death was normal. Conclusive results as to the cause of her death are not expected back for at least a few days, Murphy says.

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