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It's a boy

It's a boy

Posted: 16-Dec-2019

After much anticipation, (18 months to be exact)proud parents ‘Adelaide’ and ‘Ozzie’ are delighted to announce the safe arrival of ‘Hugo’. Hugo was born at 11.30 pm on Saturday 28th September, (AFL Grand Final Day) weighing in at 5 kgs and 30 cm long. While it has been 11 weeks since his birth, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park are also now ready to announce his arrival to the public.


It should be noted that Hugo is not your average bouncing baby boy. Nicknamed ‘Huggie’ by his doting carers, Hugo is an endangered Australian Sea-lion. He was born at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) in Coffs Harbour as part of the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP). The ASMP is collaborative program conducted by zoos in Australia to maintain viable populations of endangered species.


Now almost three months old, Hugo is the first baby for mother ‘Adelaide’ an Australian sea-lion who was rescued and raised at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. Despite being orphaned 12 years ago, Adelaide’s maternal instinct kicked in immediately, and Hugo is thriving. Today he weighs a healthy 17kgs and Hugo drinks from Adelaide every day. While Adelaide’s milk is Hugo’s meal of first choice, he is now experimenting with the odd fish. Milk is still his favourite though!!


Hugo’s father is ‘Ozzie’, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park’s largest sea-lion weighing in at a massive 150kgs. Ozzie was also born at the park as part of the ASMP for this species.


The team at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park have commented on the remarkable likeness between Hugo and his dad Ozzie.


“Hugo looks like his father with his tongue always sticking out!”, laughed carer Antigone “Tig” McElroy. “He is the loudest sea-lion at the park too! We can hear his unique call everywhere. He sounds much like a goat!”


“Hugo loves exploring and is always watching seagulls fly past. He certainly isn’t shy and is very curious and adventurous, always keen to play with something new. Nothing startles him”, she said.


Park Vet, Dr Duan March supervised the birth with the help of the entire marine mammal team from Dolphin Marine Conservation Park who worked around the clock to ensure the safe arrival of Hugo.


Dr March explained the importance of the breeding program. “Historically, the Australian Sea Lion was heavily hunted, and whilst this doesn’t happen today, a lot of the research indicates that population numbers are still declining. These animals face a range of threats in the wild, including mortalities due to entanglement in fishing gear and disease and a lot of their natural habitat is degraded or over fished. These captive breeding programs are an important insurance policy in case numbers continue to decline in the wild, and they are also great ambassadors for their wild counterparts, as the seals are used to educate visitors to the park on the threats facing this species and what they can do to help.”


There will be private sessions available where limited numbers of visitors to DMCP can see Hugo interacting with his carers. These sessions will be after hours and carefully supervised so that Hugo can become slowly accustomed to the attention he is no doubt going to receive on a daily basis once he is old enough. Keep an eye on DMCP’s Facebook page and Website so you don’t miss out on your chance to meet this cute little Australian Sea Lion.

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I seen Bucky on sash on TV just now. What an amazing spirit. I feel blessed to be kissed by a trooper. Xoxo thank you Greg for sharing an amazing dolphin. I work with Fuji and I am glad we have a photo booth for people to keep the memories. Sometimes it is all you have. I love my kiss picture with Bucky. Thank you for your photo. Paige Sinclair CEO..

Katherine Thompson

This was my last visit to The pet Porpoise pool 35 years ago I was 7. we used to go every year when I was little and my grandmother getting kissed by a seal was the highlight of the day. I loved feeding the fairy penguins and my dream is to one day swim with the dolphins. I would love to win passes to marine magic to experience it again with my family. What great memories Katherine, we hope to w..


My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..

Jody Hunt

I have been saying for years that I have wanted to visit Coffs Harbour since learning about Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. We finally were able to visit last Thursday and it was an even greater experience than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. From the amazing staff that made us feel so welcome, and the obvious passion and care for their animals and allowing such a hands on experienc..

Chrisavalanti manolakis

I got the opprotunity to swim with amazing jett last year. He was all over me and little did I know I was actually pregnant! One year later we are bringing our beautiful boy to come visit my good old friend jett in the next fortnight. Can't wait to reunite with all the gang. Such an amazing park and outrun sea world any day Thank you, we look forward to welcoming you all back here ag..

Sumit Thapa

Our 2 kids under 3 and 5 had great fun watching the dolphins, penguins, turtles and the seal. We arrived around 1.30 as we travelled all the way from Sydney and missed all the big shows but kids still looked so excited just watching the animals play free. Staff were very lovely and caring and they seemed to have real love and passion towards what they do which was great to see. We hope to retu..

Leah Cunningham

I would like to thank the staff at the park. My son swam with the dolphins today and had the most wonderful experience. Something he will never forget made his dreams come true. Thank you Leah that is so great to hear :)..

Emma Baker

My son and I came to visit the park in January, it was my sons second visit to the park we came in 2012 when he was 1, the smile on my son’s face during the show and seeing all the animals was well worth the 5 hour drive to get there, while sitting in the grandstand watching the show I heard about the in the water hugs with the seal so I thought to myself why not and I paid for my 8 years old ..

Rob Brigden

My wife and I are on a two week working holiday in Coffs Harbour and we are trying to see some of Coffs while we are here. Yesterday we walked from our accommodation to the Jetty Markets and were a little disappointed. Walking back to our resort, we passed the dolphins conservation park. My wife said "Would you like to go and have a look?" I didn't immediately know what the facility was. I was..

Shana Ghadially

Pet porpoise pool holds a special memory for our family. Our 6 year old daughter was thrilled as she had the experience of brushing the dolphin's teeth. And our four month old couldn't have dreamt in his wildest dreams that he was being kissed by a seal! we don't need the pics to remind us of those memories ... they are etched in our minds. It was a brilliant holiday we had at Coffs Harbour , ..

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