Sea lion trainer says attack was a 'one-off'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am

The Ocean Park trainer who was injured by a sea lion on Thursday said the attack was an unavoidable one-off.

The 33-year-old assistant supervisor of marine mammals, surnamed Chan, resumed work at the park yesterday.

'Animals have different characters ... they have moods as well,' Mr Chan said yesterday.

'I think it [the attack] was unavoidable and there was no special reason for it. It's just an isolated incident,' he said.

According to Ocean Park, the 12-year-old female sea lion, Jumanji, grazed the trainer's left forearm with her teeth on Thursday while the trainer was talking to it and demonstrating feeding procedures at Pacific Pier.

Mr Chan said he had worked with Jumanji since he began work at the park nine years ago.

He said that the attack would not affect his job as a marine mammal trainer or his work with Jumanji in the future.

'She's very smart,' he said, adding that she learned things quickly. 'And she's a good mother with three sea lion babies.'

Asked if management or operational problems had contributed to the attack, Mr Chan said staff followed set procedures in training and feeding animals.

Jumanji has been quarantined for a week.