The Los Angeles Zoo has completed their overhaul of the zoo entrance, and zookeepers have now moved
the sea lions into their new, luxurious, salt-water digs
, "The Cliffs at Griffith Park". The $18 million dollar development, which is nestled in the leafy foothills of the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, features landscaped grounds, tremendous views, and a 165,000 gallon swimming pool, amongst other amenities.
This gated, highly exclusive community caters only to the creme de la creme
of unbearably cute sea mammals. In fact, the sea lion homeowner's association has set the membership bar so high that even sea otters, those frisky, adorable clowns
of the NoCal kelp beds, have had little success in buying their way into "The Cliffs", a fact that has caused underlying, unspoken tensions at the Zoo to bubble to the surface.
Says one otter, who spoke on the condition that his name be withheld, "Just because we eat mollusks and sea urchins and they eat fish, they call us 'bottom-feeders' and 'fish-haters', and say we're not refined enough for The Cliffs. But who the hell are they? They haven't even figured out how to use rocks to open clamshells! Sheesh!".
A spokesman for the sea lions shot back: "Otters should stay in their kelp beds where they belong. The last thing we want is for those furry little ragamuffins to move in. If we opened our doors to them, they'd just bring their kelp bed 'culture' here: broken clamshells lying all around, sharks circling at all hours of the night, and of course, that nasty smell of fermented sea urchin guts. No thank you! Bark!".
Zoo officials, meanwhile, have done their best to publicly downplay the animosity between the sea mammals, even while they have reportedly held a clandestine series of inter-species sensitivity workshops to try to defuse the situation before it escalates further.
Whether or not this approach will work remains to be seen. According to sources in the reptile house, during a clam-bake/peace rally organized by the elephants, a sea lion who had ingested one too many pickled herrings made an obscene flipper gesture at a group of young otters. Only the quick intercession of a nearby troop of orangutans prevented the incident from turning violent.
When asked to comment on the so-called "Clam-Bake Commotion", as well as the ongoing sea lion-otter discord, the Zoo released the following statement:
"We categorically deny any pattern of discrimination against sea otters at the Los Angeles Zoo. Unlike 'Animal Farm', no animals here are more equal than others: some are just better box office draws."