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Miller the Sea Lion Retires

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Volunteering | Mammals

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Hugh

His paintings have caused bidding wars at auctions. His kisses have made women, and men swoon. If he sneezed on you, you wouldn’t want to wipe it off. He is…The Most Interesting Sea Lion in the World. And he is retiring.

Miller the sea lion has been entertaining and educating people for three decades. The 30 year old Alpha Male has stepped aside this summer to allow his younger sea lion companions in the seal and sea lion exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific to carry on the tradition of being ambassadors of his species.

Perhaps no other sea lion has had such a subtle yet profound effect upon Los Angeles and Orange County visitors and residents in the quarter century. Starting out life as a distressed orphan pup on a San Diego beach back in the beginning of the 1980s, the story of the sea lion soon to be known as Miller is an inspirational rags to riches tale. Deemed unreleasable to the wild because he lacked the skills necessary to survive in the ocean, he instead became a popular star of a marine mammal show at an Orange County Amusement Park. From the early 80s to the late 90s he not only performed in front of packed audiences but also interacted with them. It was this interaction, shaking flippers, posing for pictures and even kissing people, that endeared him to his fans. He has a charisma that made people remember him even years later at his current residence in Long Beach. When he moved on to the Aquarium of the Pacific in September of 1998 his charisma, intelligence and abilities not only impressed visitors, but also the staff and volunteers that worked with him.

For more on the Story of Miller the Sea Lion check out these past blogs:

Older and noticeably slower with the normal aches and pains of aging (boy can I relate to that) Miller has passed the star mantle on to his young protégé Parker the sea lion.

With his penthouse-like accommodations in the Aquarium’s behind the scenes area he can not only enjoy his less stressful retirement life of not having to be continuously on as the Alpha Male of the exhibit, but can also enjoy his room with a view as he can watch the behind the scenes tour groups walk by. And with marine mammal staffers that absolutely worship the grounds that he walks on like husbandry volunteers Karen and Linda, he is never at a want for quality service. These volunteers make sure that he gets the best of the best selection of food, choosing the herring and capelin with just the right shape and size that Miller enjoys best and also making sure that his pad stays spotless with thorough cleaning. He’s keeping active in his retirement by performing some of his old show biz behaviors to entertain the staff and the occasional behind the scenes visitor to his pad. He is also finding time to do a bit of painting. These Miller the Sea Lion art pieces are highly sought after by his fans who bid on them at events such as the upcoming Sea Fare.

Miller is enjoying his well earned retirement.

Miller the Sea Lion Retires
The Most Interesting Sea Lion in the World (according to Hugh). Miller the Sea Lion at 30.  | Hugh Ryono
Miller the Sea Lion Retires
Miller working on a painting in his behind the scenes retirement pad.  | Hugh Ryono
Miller the Sea Lion Retires
Me and Miller in his retirement pad.  | Linda deAmbrosio

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