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'It is never easy to say goodbye': Bart, Louisville Zoo sea lion, dies at 28

Beloved animal ambassador, Bart the California sea lion of the Louisville Zoo, died at a ripe 28 years old.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Zoo announced the recent death of their California Sea Lion Bart. He was 28 years old.

Even though most of his life was spent at the Louisville Zoo, he lived at the Birmingham Zoo for three and a half years while they were building Glacier Run.

Bart was the second California Sea Lion born at the zoo.

“Bart was a favorite amongst guests because of his large stature and beloved amongst staff because of his even larger personality,” said Executive Director Dan Maloney.

Credit: Louisville Zoo

“It is never easy to say goodbye to any animal ambassador. We will miss how Bart blew raspberries at the crowds as well as soaking some “lucky” guests during pinniped training sessions,” Maloney said.

Bart surpassed the median life span of most California sea lions at 23.3 years. These sea lions are good indicators of ocean health, and are considered a sentinel species.

California sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act but still face challenges like entanglement and “human-caused injuries,” according to the press release.

Click here to learn more about the Louisville Zoo.

Click here to watch Bart’s farewell video.

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