- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - What caused the death of a 2-year-old sea lion at the Oklahoma City Zoo remains unclear after initial results from a necropsy were inconclusive, according to zoo officials.

Jaxon the sea lion was found dead in his pool Friday morning. Zoo veterinarians weren’t able to determine how Jaxon died and the zoo will have to wait about a month for pathology results, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1glTsIr ) reported.

“We didn’t see anything glaringly obvious,” said zoo veterinarian Jennifer D’Agostino. “We take a tissue sample of all the organs and we send them to a zoo pathologist who will look at the samples and he’ll be able to tell us if there was an infection or an organ failure. That’s almost always how we find the cause of death. It’s not from something we can immediately see.”

Sea lions usually do well at zoos and aquariums, but the animals’ health can sometimes be hard to read, said marine mammal curator Mark Bechtel.

“We do daily checks on all of the animals and we constantly keep an eye on them and make detailed notes on their diet, weight and behavior,” he said. “If we have concerns, we contact the vets and they get blood work, but unfortunately wild animals are often very good at hiding problems.”

The zoo received Jaxon and another sea lion, 3-year-old Hendrix, from The Marine Mammal Center in California. Hendrix hasn’t shown signs of problems since Jaxon’s death.

“He has been introduced to some of the other animals and he’s doing well,” Bechtel said. “We haven’t seen any signs of depression. We’ve been working to socialize him with the other animals. He was introduced to Xander and he’s met Liberty and Pearl as well.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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