DUBLIN Zoo’s sea lions have always made a big splash – and now visitors will be able to get up close and personal with them like never before.
The Zoo’s newest habitat will allow visitors to view the sea mammals under water.
The habitat includes a deep salt-water pool which is modelled on the natural environment of the animals.
Sea Lion Cove can host up to eight California sea lions – at the moment it’s home to Nico, Cassie and Florence and they will be joined in the coming weeks by Seanna.
One million visitors have visited the zoo over the last four years, but director Leo Oosterweghe predicted this number was likely to increase thanks to the addition of Sea Lion Cove.
Mr Oosterweghe said the construction of the habitat proved challenging,
“The build was very complex. As the construction took place on the site of a former lake, there were significant engineering challenges.
“But the result is a fantastic new habitat for the sea lions at Dublin Zoo and an excellent visitor experience,” he added.
President Michael D Higgins (inset) made the short trip from Aras an Uachtarain to Dublin Zoo to open Sea Lion Cove yesterday.
“A day trip to the zoo has been an essential highlight for generations of Irish children and adults for years,” Mr Higgins said yesterday.
“I am confident that Sea Lion Cove will add to [Dublin Zoo’s] international reputation.”