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El Paso Zoo officials announced the sudden death of its beloved California Sea Lion, Sushi. Zookeepers found Sushi unresponsive yesterday while she was in her behind the scenes pool. Zookeepers and veterinary staff were unable to revive her. The cause of death is not yet known.

“The zoo family is extremely brokenhearted by Sushi’s sudden death. We value the lives of all our animals and work hard to keep them happy and healthy. We know our zoo staff and friends have been able to connect with Sushi over the years. This is a great loss for us all and she will be missed dearly,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall.

Sushi had been at the zoo since 2004 after being rescued as an abandoned pup in Oceano, California in 1999.

She was a favorite for many of the guests at the zoo. Zookeepers who took care of her remember her as a clever, spirited, and very sassy sea lion.

She was a great ambassador and helped inform guests about their role in being a good steward of natural resources by purchasing sustainable seafood, recycling, and the importance of reducing plastic trash in our oceans, according to the zoo.

The El Paso Zoo contributed to this article.