sea lion

Roger Brandt/Saint Louis Zoo

A sea lion has died at the St. Louis Zoo.

“Bennie,” as he was known, was born at the zoo in 2002 and would have been 12 years old in June.

The 500 pound sea lion was one of the stars of the zoo’s sea lion show. But he stopped performing two weeks ago and had been under veterinary care.

The zoo says a necropsy will be performed by its pathologist, but it will take several weeks for the zoo to get the lab results needed to determine the cause of death.

While rhythm can often be hard enough to find among humans, finding it in the animal kingdom has been even more rare.

But thanks to a 3-year-old sea lion named Ronan who knows how to keep the beat, previous notions of rhythmic ability among animals are now being challenged.

Robin Winkelman/Saint Louis Zoo

Starting this Saturday, visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo will have their first chance to check out a new sea lion exhibit.

The 1.5 acre, $18 million habitat will house 11 California sea lions in a large saltwater pool. There’s also an arena for sea lion shows.

(Courtesy St. Louis Zoo)

Updated 2:10 p.m. Aug. 23 with cause of death

One of the country's top professional associations for zoos and aquariums says people should not be worried about the quality of care at the St. Louis Zoo, despite the death of another animal there.