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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..

Taneesha Govender

My family and I went to The dolphin marine conservation last September and it was the best experience of our lives! When we watched the dolphin show, there were so many smiles, laughs and really enjoyable moments. After the show was the best part, We got to put our hands in the water and see if the dolphins came to us! When they did, it was so magical, I felt at peace and decided I wanted to p..

Andrew Willis

Thanks again to the Dolphin Marine Conservation park for another unforgettable experience,doing my third in water experience with the beautiful Calamity and the doing an in water seal experience with Adelaide and Maxine,a big thanks must go out to Calamity,Adelaide & Maxine and also the Dolphin Marine Conservation for another unforgettable afternoon. Thank you Andrew :)..

Melanie Weaver

I have not come down from the high of having one of my best days ever! As a 37 year old, I have never experienced being close up with a beautiful dolphin and today my dreams came true. You could not make my smile disappear, I was able to touch and interact with the dolphins and that was just normal entry! I will be back for an experience with these beautiful creatures. I had happy tears for mo..

Sheridan Lockyer

During our recent family holiday in the area the overcast weather lead us to dolphins We took 6 children ranging in age from 7-16 and all of them had a ball One of the children was chosen to play ball with the seal and described it as the best day ever While all of us had a great time and received great customer service I was blown away with the care shown to my family member who is in a wheel..


My daughter (4) and I would like to thank everyone at the Dolphin Conservation Park for the amazing work you do and the memorable experience you give to the public. All the animals are well taken care of, loved and respected. We had a shallow Dolphin private experience in the water with the gorgeous "Jett" and trainer Alice. I can't tell you how much we loved this incredible experience. It wil..

Jessica Higgins

My 3 kids, my mum and I had the pleasure of swimming with Zippy today, the experience was truly amazing. Seeing and touching a real dolphin was a dream come true. When I booked the experience I expected a long safety talk followed by a quick photo in the pool. What occured was the complete opposite. We played in the water with Zippy, each got to hug him individually. Thank you Jessi..

Andrew Willis

I have done two ultimate dolphin experience now the first with Bucky how has now passed on,and the second with his daughter Bella which both were a once in a lifetime experience. Thank you Andrew, we hope to see you again for perhaps your third!..

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