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Little sea lion swaps takes first fish bites

By ZHOU HUIYING in Harbin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-28 16:22

The first California sea lion born in China has been weaned successfully. [Photo by Gao Shan for China Daily]

The first California sea lion born in China has been weaned successfully, marking another milestone in the young seal's progress.

Named Beili, the baby seal has attracted much attention since it was born in Harbin Polarland on Aug 22, 2016.

Over the past year, Beili has grown healthy under the intensive care of its mother and breeders, but in the last month the breeder did not observe any change in its weight and height.

"It was time to feed it food instead of breast milk because the breast milk could no longer meet the needs of its growth," keeper Fu Nailu said.

However, it was not easy for Beili to adjust to the new diet.

Beili treated the frozen fish as a toy and refused to eat it which made Fu quite worried.

"I tried to separate Beili from its mother, but the method made it quite depressed and it even showed no interest in its toys," he said.

Because of concerns about parasites, keepers didn't use live fish at first, but when Beili refused to eat anything for three days, they decided live fish was worth the risk.

"We choose deep ocean fish with fewer parasites," Fu said. "I still didn't know whether it will accept the fish or not."

Fortunately, Beili had its first bite of the fish after playing with it for several minutes.

Now, more than 20 fish will be served up to the little sea lion every day and it can eat them all by itself.

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