A "beloved," "one-of-a-kind" and "amazing" sea lion at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo died Sunday after battling an illness, according to the theme park.
Kai, a 22-year-old male California sea lion, was found to have a sudden and unknown illness on Tuesday, according to the park. Veterinarians from across the region and those working at the park spent the past several days caring for Kai before he passed away.
"As one of the park’s most popular and beloved animals, Kai will be remembered for his enthusiastic and endearing one-of-a-kind personality," according to a statement from the park.
Sad news to tell you-our beloved male California sea lion, Kai, passed away today after an illness. As one of the most popular animals here, Kai was both student and teacher, touching millions of lives for more than 20 years. We will miss the one-of-a-kind, amazing Kai. pic.twitter.com/WipH2hjyaM— Discovery Kingdom (@sixflagsDK) April 15, 2018
Kai is said to have taught millions of parkgoers that his species is "incredibly personable, intelligent and talented," according to the park.
"His legacy will be the indelible impressions he left on all those who felt a connection to him, especially the animal care team who dedicated their lives to his care for over 20 years, and with whom there is now an unbreakable bond," a statement from the park read.
Kai first arrived at the park after spending time at a Moss Landing Marine Laboratories sea lion program, according to the park. During his time with the program, he suffered a shoulder injury. Due to the injury and the fact that he had already bonded with humans, he could not be released back into the wild.