- Celebrity Pets
Gidget the sea lion was born at the Denver Zoo 27 years ago. The aging marine mammal suffered arthritis and on Wednesday zookeepers euthanized because she was suffering intense pain and started showing signs of being unable to move. She had also begun refusing food and medication. Sea lions normally live to be between 20 and 30 years old.
Gidget was a California sea lion, the subspecies known for being most intelligent and trainable. The California sea lion is being used by the United States Navy for a number of programs. Due to their large numbers along the west coast of North America, the animals are not considered at risk and are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
During her time at the zoo she became not only a zoo star, but a local celebrity as she helped 9News sportscaster Drew Soicher predict the winner of Broncos games. He would toss two footballs into her tank, one each in the competing team colors. Gidget would retrieve the ball for the team she thought would win. The marine mammal wasn't always correct, but she was surprisingly accurate anyway. She retired from broadcasting in 2010 after 6 years.
Soicher has been receiving condolence cards and gifts from Bronco fans who had loved the partnership. The zoo has lost several animals this year. Most recently Mimi the elephant was euthanized on October 9, also from advanced age. Another sea lion, Bismark, died during surgery in August.
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger