Home > Aquarium Blog > Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday

Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday

Hugh's avatar

Conservation | Mammals

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hugh

One of the wonderful benefits of aquariums and zoos is that they allow some rescued wildlife a second chance at life. I at one time spent over a decade rescuing and rehabilitating wild marine mammals, so I know first hand that without these institutions many critters might have a disability or personality traits that would keep them from making it in the wild.

An example of an animal that found a great life despite being deemed unable to survive in the wild is Miller our oldest sea lion at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Miller was born in the wild in 1980 but became an orphan before he had learned the skills to survive in the ocean. Found starving on a San Diego beach he was rescued and treated by a marine mammal rehabilitation facility. Deemed a non-candidate for release he was adopted into the company of humans as a performing sea lion. After his show business career ended, Miller eventually found his way to the Aquarium of the Pacific, where, with the help of our husbandry and veterinary staff, he’s enjoyed the good life in semi-retirement for the past 11 years.

Last Saturday Miller celebrated his 29th birthday with an ice cake from the Saturday crew with 29 capelins sticking up out of the top like candles. At 29 years old, he’s older than a lot of the staff caring for him and is one of the oldest male sea lions in the country. Sea lions live about 15-17 years in the wild and from 20-30 years under the care of humans (probably a bit less for males). Volunteer marine mammal trainer Linda planned Miller’s celebration, making not only the birthday ice cake but also little ice cupcakes with a single capelin sticking up for Miller’s pinniped exhibit mates. Linda’s known Miller longer than anyone else at the Aquarium as she was once one of Miller’s co-stars during his performing years at an Orange County amusement park before he came to Long Beach. I still run into people that remember Miller from his show business days in Buena Park. He had quite a charismatic personality back then.

Of course there are a lot of people that also know him as the animal that they’ve met up-close and personal and shaken flippers with during an Aquarium of the Pacific sea lion encounter. His charisma charms folks even today. Miller is the grand old man of the exhibit.

Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday
Miller and volunteer marine mammal trainer Linda on the beach in the exhibit just before the birthday cake is brought out.  | Hugh Ryono
Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday
Senior Mammalogist Debbie and Intern Brittany bring out Miller's birthday cake.  | Hugh Ryono
Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday
Miller the sea lion lets out a roar during his birthday celebration.  | Hugh Ryono
Miller the Sea Lion’s 29th Birthday
Our young adult sea lion Parker joins Miller during his birthday celebration.  | Hugh Ryono

<< Back

Your Comments

Have Something to Say? Leave a Comment!

default avatar

Linda

Friday, July 31, 2009 11:55 AM

Nice shots.  I love the one where he is making a roaring wish before everyone indulges in the cake. I would love to have the image when you get a chance.  Great article too—nice you ave all of the memories you capture!  Thanks for sharing.

Hugh's avatar

Hugh

Friday, August 21, 2009 01:52 PM

It was a fun day with Miller wasn’t it?

default avatar

Julie Carpenter

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:22 AM

I used to work with Miller at that OC Theme Park and then at the LB Aquarium before I moved to MT 11 years ago. I still check up on him on-line and can’t believe he is now 29. Way to go Miller. Say Hi to Linda for me. We used to volunteer together. Boy, I miss doing that.

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

<< Back