One of SeaWorld’s newest arrivals has died.
On Friday, Little Gem the sea lion pup, who was just days old, passed away, the park announced on Saturday.
Little Gem was a surprise baby. On Tuesday, SeaWorld San Diego’s animal care team rescued a sickly female sea lion from Oceanside, California.
Shortly after arriving at SeaWorld’s rescue facilities, the animal gave birth prematurely to Little Gem.
The rescue team immediately started caring for the baby, giving her regular bottle feedings, since mom was still too weak to help.
Caregivers were optimistic about Little Gem’s chances for survival, but then her health took a turn.
“While the prematurely born pup appeared relatively healthy in the days following her birth, her long-term survival was always questionable. Even faced with challenging odds, the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams poured their hearts into Little Gem, passionately providing her with around-the-clock care with the hope that she would be reunited with her mother,” SeaWorld wrote in a Facebook post.
The cause of death is currently unknown. SeaWorld plans to conduct a necropsy to learn more. The pup’s mother is still alive and working towards a full recovery.