“Are you handsome? Yes? Show them your pretty smile. Smile. Good boy!
“Hi, I’m Jessica, the Sea Lion Trainer at Pirates Voyage, and along my side here is Salty! The training that we do here is all operant conditioning through positive reinforcement. So any time our sea lions do something right, we will reward them. His favorite reward is fish. Salty gets a wide variety; he actually gets twenty pounds of fish every single day. We feed herring, capelin, sardines, and thread herring.
“Herring. Is that your favorite? Good boy!
“Salty is actually a ten-yer-old South American sea lion, and they’re found by Uruguay and Argentina. Salty here is actually 590 pounds, so he is a big boy. Yes he is, good boy! We actually have two other sea lions here at Pirates Voyage: one female, a ten-year-old named Kitty; and we also have her son and Salty’s son, who is the first South American sea lion born in captivity here in the United States and that’s our little Freddy. He is two-years-old.
“All the training that we do gets rewarded by fish, so every time Salty does something right, we reward him. Some behaviors can take a couple training sessions, and sometimes longer behaviors can take a little bit longer – they’ll actually take a couple years to perfect. We do an educational part in the pre-show where we bring out the younger sea-lions and… is that a good fish?.. We bring out the younger sea lions, and talk a little bit about the differences between seals and sea lions. Quite often than not, people call them seals, but they are actually sea lions.
“In the main show, Salty is one of the favorite acts in the show. They actually come out twice. Salty and I would love for you to come out to Pirates Voyage and see us! Right? Do you have a lot of girlfriends?.. No! Do you have one girlfriend? Yeah? And that’s kitty? What about me?.. No!”