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TV star sea lions prepare to head north

A colony of sea lions famous for appearing in a television documentary about life at two Zoological Society of London zoos will be heading to a new home in Yorkshire later this year.

The six sea lions – male Dominic, 13, and females, Lara, 12, and Bailey,13, and two-year-old youngsters, Hanno, Oakley and Maui – will make the move from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo to a brand-new purpose-built facility at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, due to open next Spring. 

Broadcast last Thursday (24th Sept) – with a second episode due to be aired this Thursday 1st October –  ITV’s London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year takes us behind the scenes at ZSL to show the enormous challenges faced by staff caring for the animals during lockdown. 

Dominic the sea lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Alex Pinnell)

ZSL Whipsnade sea lion keeper Alex Pinnell, who features in the documentary, said: “Though we will miss our intelligent and playful colony of sea lions, we’re delighted they will be going to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, who are building an amazing, brand-new exhibit, custom-designed for sea lions – it’s also great that they’re moving together as one colony, so will remain a family unit.”

Hanno the sea lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Alex Pinnell)

The new sea lion facility is part of an expansion which will double the size of Yorkshire Wildlife Park from its current 150 acres of animal reserves.

“We are very excited to welcome the sea lions and have been in close contact with ZSL Whipsnade Zoo to make the journey as smooth and easy as possible,” said Dr Matt Hartley, Head of Animals at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

“It is a relatively short journey, but everyone is focused on making it comfortable for these charismatic animals who I’m sure will be a big hit with our visitors.”

For information on visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park go to

For further information on ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo go to

Main image: Female sea lions Lara and Bailey at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Alex Pinnell)

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