Baby sea lion Ronny explores the new Polar World

Visitors to the new Polar World at Hellabrunn Zoo will be able to meet a diverse range of animals from the polar regions. Those who look closely in the sea lion pool will be able to see the recently born sea lion pup swimming in the clear water.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Ronny, the adorable South American sea lion pup, was born in late July. He spent his first weeks in the Sea Lion House. Since the opening of the new Polar World in early September, the baby seal lion has been practicing his swimming in the large pool – where visitors can meet the cute Ronny with big brown eyes as he swims, plays and during the daily sea lion show.

After about 350 days in mum Ina’s belly, Ronny will be suckled for his first six months. Every now and then the little sea lion will play with a fish - which will soon become his main source of food. An adult sea lion eats between five and eight kilos of fish, crustaceans and clams per day.

The South American seal lion belongs to the seal superfamily, Pinnipedia (flipper-footed), which comprises three main groups: earless seals, eared seals and walruses. South American seal lions are classified as eared seals. Apart from the ear flap - or lack of it - one of the most noticeable differences between a true seal (earless) and a sea lion (eared) is that the sea lion has longer hind flippers that it can rotate forward, allowing it to walk across land.

The semi-aquatic sea lion is a fast swimmer and uses its front flippers to propel itself in water. An adult bull can grow up to 2.50 m long and weigh up to 350 kg. However it will take another five to seven years before little Ronny is fully grown.