At Philadelphia, Sushi was always a more quiet and retiring sea lion. Sushi has emerged as most of the trainers' favorite sea lion to work with in New Orleans. Here she is, on the same backstage training seat used earlier by Lilli.
Suzanne invited me to get a kiss from Sushi. I used to get sea lion kisses on a daily basis as a trainer at Oklahoma City, but I never got one from Sushi before. Note that I've reverted to (training) type by putting both of my hands behind my back--just as I was taught to do at Marine Life Aquarium, where Suzanne also worked for a time!
My wife, Carol, on the other hand, had never been kissed by a sea lion!
Here she is, getting the big wet one from Sushi.
Finally, here's a glimpse of the future. Suzanne and the other
trainers had just started working on underwater targeting with the sea
lions, in the hopes of developing an underwater show that would better
highlight the sea lion's capabilities. Sushi had only started underwater
target training the day before our visit, but as you can see, she already
was catching on! Very dimly seen to the right is Jennifer, one of
the other trainers.
A big thank you to:
Suzanne Smith and Jennifer (sorry, I mised
her last name) for making this old trainer and his wife very welcome at
the sea lion exhibit! It was a huge thrill to see "my" two girls
doing so well, and under such excellent care. I know we'll be back
to see them as soon as possible!