Calli, a 17-year-old female California sea lion, died last week, according to National Zoo officials.
Calli died on Sept. 7. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute said the median life expectancy for California sea lions is between 15 and 20 years.
Calli was found dead as keepers performed their routine wellness checks that day. Lesions in the sea lion’s gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system were found by zoo pathologists during a necropsy, according to the zoo.
An ultrasound in May confirmed that Cali was pregnant. Another ultrasound in July confirmed late-term fetal loss had occurred. Zoo veterinarians anesthetized Calli the day before her death so they could perform a full exam to evaluate her abdomen and reproductive system.
Zoo officials said Calli was behaving and eating normally on the evening of Sept. 6.
The zoo told WTOP that Calli is the first sea lion to die there since the August 2019 death of 3-year-old Catalina, who was one of Calli’s pups.
Visitors to the zoo’s American Trail exhibit can still see two other adult female sea lions, Summer and Sidney, as well as 3-year-old Celia — who was born to Calli in June 2019, the zoo said.
A full pathology report is expected in the coming weeks.