Staff at the National Seal Sanctuary have been shocked and saddened this week by the sudden death of their long-term resident southern sea lion, Serendipity.
Dipsy, as she was known to staff, was found dead in the outdoor pool she shared with her partner Carus. She is believed to have died of natural causes.
The pair had been inseparable ever since Dipsy arrived in 1989, and both could be found snuggled up together on the side of the pool at the end of the day.
"She was a much loved resident who will be sadly missed by all of us, and especially by Carus," said Curator Dr Glenn Boyle.
A shy and retiring character when she first arrived, Dipsy grew in confidence during her time at the Sanctuary and was a firm favourite with visitors.
"She developed a bit of a mischievous streak, and used to sneak up behind members of the animal care team at feeding times and startle them with a sudden bark," said Glenn. "In all, though, she was a tremendously gentle creature."
During her last six months she enjoyed special husbandry training designed to make it easier to carry out routine veterinary inspections on her.
"Carus was clearly a bit distressed in the hours immediately following Dipsy´s death, but we´ve kept him occupied and his general behaviour is normal suggesting that any anxiety is gradually fading," Glenn added.
Click here to read Dipsy´s obit.