For years, Sunny and Sushi the sea lions were two of the most iconic and beloved animals at the El Paso Zoo. When Sunny passed away in 2012, citizens from El Paso and beyond mourned his passing. Now, the sea lion will receive the recognition he deserves in El Paso’s history.
On Tuesday, May 21, Sunny the California Sea Lion will be inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame at the El Paso Zoo. A plaque at the newly renovated interactive Animal Hall of Fame display located at the zoo and sponsored by the El Paso Veterinary Medical Association will be unveiled to the public.
“We are so happy that Sunny is receiving this honor that he so deserves as he was a joy to everyone who took care of him and everyone who came to visit him,” said El Paso Zoo Collections Supervisor Amanda Leverett. “We still miss his endearing nature, his subtle mischievousness, and his obvious love of life. He was a special companion and an outstanding ocean ambassador for generations of people that were lucky enough to know him.”
Sunny was a staple of the zoo and entertained and educated thousands of visitors from 1986 to his death in 2012. Sunny is most notable for being the first Sea Lion at any zoo to teach visitors about recycling by demonstrating how to put correct items in a recycling bin.
The adorable sea lion served as an ambassador for ocean conservation by helping staff promote and distribute more than 100,000 seafood watch cards.
Established in 1998, the El Paso Animal Hall of Fame (AHoF) recognizes the outstanding contributions animals make to human lives in the El Paso community.
The induction ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the El Paso Zoo.