first_imgWoody, the headline attraction at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, is dead. Center officials say the 22-year-old male sea lion was euthanized Monday due to age-related complications.Download AudioWoody, 22, was euthanized on Monday. Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center.Tara Riemer is the president of the Center. She says it’s a sad day.“We’ve had staff who have worked with Woody for 18 years. I’ve been at the Center for 12, and it really is like family. And, although we knew that he was aging, and the last few weeks we knew things were really was declining, it’s still hard. This is never an easy thing with a member of your family.”Riemer says Woody was old for a male Steller sea lion. In the wild, they live into their teens.Woody was one of the first residents of the Center, and it’s estimated more than 2 million visitors viewed him swimming in his aquarium.He was known for his size — 2,400 pounds at one point — and his personality. Like many other animals at the Center, provided valuable information about his species.“And Steller sea lions are a very important animal to study, because there was a rapid decline of the population in Alaska, and it really has been slow to recover. For many years, he was the only male at the Alaska Sea Life Center, and really taught us quite a bit about sea lion biology and even reproduction. He was involved in our maternal investment program, which required breeding of sea lions and then looking at the investment the mothers put into raising them and then after they were born.”Two off Woody’s offspring now live at the Center.Caretakers at the Center say Woody experienced rapid weight loss this fall, and two weeks ago he stopped eating.A necropsy is currently being conducted.Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center.last_img

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