Jerry, the handsome, slender-snouted sea lion, proved to have the memory of an elephant!
  • 1930s

Jerry was chosen not only for his sleek physique and slender, pointed nose but also
for his keen intelligence and persistent tracking of his trainer. Out of 60 contenders, Jerry the sea lion showed great promise as a performer from the get-go, quickly shedding his fear of humans and getting down to business as to what was expected of him in the Zoo’s sea lion show. Jerry was the first sea lion to master mounting the pedestals, “clapping” his flippers, balancing a ball on his nose, and twirling a baton during the shows. Jerry even learned to “sing” on command, adding humor to his performances.

A generous Zoo patron who had a private zoo at his home took a fancy to Jerry as a companion for his existing sea lion, Bubbles. The Zoo released Jerry to the patron, where the sea lion practiced only sporadically at the whim of who was around. Realizing this lackadaisical lifestyle was not ideal for a sea lion of Jerry’s talents, the animal was returned to the Zoo to resume his education. Jerry had been gone for a year, and the other performers had many additions to their routine. It was thought that Jerry might have forgotten, and he would need to learn the routine again.

But after the opening act by sea lion Sonny Boy, Jerry, who had been the second act before, forced his way past Charley to take what he considered his rightful place on stage. After a scuffle at the stage door, the trainer let Jerry onto the stage. Though a tad rusty, Jerry joyfully went through his routine, complete with his little finale song. Keepers and trainers were astonished at Jerry’s memory and unflappable way of making a splash on stage!

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