Our Animal Care team works diligently to ensure the more than 10,000 animals residing at the New England Aquarium lead healthy lives. We carry out our work each day with expertise and compassion, and we develop deep emotional connections with many of our animals. This is why it is so difficult to share the news that we are mourning the loss of our California sea lion Ron.
Ron was a delightful and unexpected addition here at New England Aquarium. In 2016, our female California sea lion Tipper joined us from Turtleback Zoo and, unbeknownst to us, she had a surprise in store: She was pregnant! Ron was born nine months later. He was so much fun to watch from day one. He had really cool and variable vocalizations, loved to pester his “Aunts” Zoe and Sierra, and spent lots of time sunning himself on the island rocks right in front of our visitors.
In 2021, Ron had been diagnosed with odynophagia and dysphagia, or painful and difficult swallowing, but several rounds of thorough diagnostic testing did not determine a specific cause. He was managed with medication to control the symptoms, but the problem became worse over the past few months. He passed away last month. Post-mortem testing is underway to better understand the cause.
We were privileged to take care of Ron for these last five years and will deeply miss him and all of his antics.