Max, the Sea Lion
Two well-loved sea lion residents of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Max and his half-sister Quill, recently passed away after a long and healthy life of 30 years. We want to honor these special, long-time residents of the Oregon Coast and celebrate them as beloved ambassadors for their species. Guests of the Overleaf Lodge may remember seeing artwork made by Max in the public restroom on the ground floor, which we are sharing in this post.

When the Oregon Coast Aquarium opened in 1992, Max and Quill were two of the original zalophus californianus (California sea lion) residents. Born in the Chicago Brookfield Zoo two weeks apart, they came to the Oregon Coast Aquarium as a 2-year-olds. When in the care of humans, California sea lions can live to be 20-30 years old.

“Max was always eager to please his trainers,” says Brittany Blades, Curator of Marine Mammals. “One of his favorite behaviors was fetching toys. Without us asking, he would retrieve toys from the pool and bring them to us, then look at us like he just did the best thing ever and deserved a whole bucket full of fish. He had this look with very sweet brown eyes that felt like he had a deep connection with us, staring into our souls.”

Max was loved not only by his trainers and guests, but also by all of his sea lion pool mates, Brittany says. “Our female sea lions, Catalina and Rosa, would argue over who got to be closest to Max during breeding season.”

Quill was a spunky people pleaser, who made the biggest splash with her backflips and was reliably able to meet guests during pinniped (seal family) encounters. Quill voluntarily participated in her medical treatments. As she aged, her trust in her caretakers enabled them to implement innovative treatments to insure she had the best quality of life.

Max and Quill will be missed by their trainers and the staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  They will always have a very special place in the hearts of many.

Quill, the Sea Lion
Max's Art

Created by Max, Sea Lion Artist

Max's Art

Created by Max, Sea Lion Artist

Watch a tribute to Max and to Quill, created by the Oregon Coast Aquarium in these short videos: