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Bennie, Beloved Sea Lion at Saint Louis Zoo, Dies

Categories: Animals

benniebetter.jpg
Photo by Roger Brandt/Saint Louis Zoo
Bennie the sea lion.
It's with a heavy heart that Daily RFT announces the passing of Bennie, the eleven-year-old sea lion famous for giving kisses during shows at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Bennie died around 1:30 p.m. Friday at the zoo's Lichtenstein Sea Lion Arena after spending two weeks in veterinary care.

See also: Out of Hibernation: 17 Beautiful Photos of Saint Louis Zoo Animals Basking in the Sun

The 500-pound sea lion spent his life at the Saint Louis Zoo. He was born in the zoo's Sea Lion Basin on June 15, 2002, to parents Hide and Roland, and he performed at shows for zoogoers for seven years.

"A leading ambassador for the zoo, Bennie was both the one of the stars of the Sea Lion Show and the animal who happily kissed everyone from celebrities to average citizens," the zoo said in a statement. Bennie was also known for kissing Cardinals players. "He will long be remembered for his loving nature, remarkable performances and high spirits, which delighted audiences."

Bennie died at eleven years old, although sea lions typically live until age twelve or thirteen. The zoo's pathologist will perform a necropsy and will have information on the cause of death in several weeks. While Bennie was alive, he received routine health care, the zoo says.

To mark Bennie's passing, we leave you with his small-screen debut -- an award-winning commercial for the zoo's Sea Lion Sound where Bennie gets "called up" to the big show:

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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13 comments
Amy Scheve
Amy Scheve

That's Robbie. Not Benny. Benny had already passed by the time this picture was even taken.

Kaity Shea
Kaity Shea

Died around 1:30pm Friday.... LAST Friday. Way to be on top of it, RFT.

Kevin Prange
Kevin Prange

I would hope he goes to that open ocean in the sky. He spent more than enough time in a small enclosure.

Beau Thurman
Beau Thurman

My favorite hands down I see him every time he comes here!

Eric Matthew Wilkinson
Eric Matthew Wilkinson

The average lifespan of a sea lion in the wild is 15 to 30 years. This story is misleading in saying that they typically live 12 years. If their average lifespan in captivity is 12 years this should be stated, along with the fact that that is much shorter than in the wild.

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