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Floater the sea lion euthanized at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach

11:17 AM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
A California sea lion is fed at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, Florida
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida (AP) - A California Sea Lion named Floater has been euthanized because of an invertebral disc disease.

The News Herald of Panama City reports Floater died Saturday at the Panama City Beach attraction. The disease causes progressive paralysis and is common in sea lions.

Officials say 30-year-old Floater was one of the first animals acquired when Gulf World opened in 1984.

Employees and visitors stopped by the park to say goodbye to show their respects to the sea lion over the weekend.

In a news release, Gulf World said Floater "will be missed immensely, by our guests and even more by our animal care team and trainers."

A week earlier, a young giraffe named Elliot died at ZooWorld, which is also in Panama City Beach. A zookeeper making her rounds saw the giraffe fall and then make his was to a paddock area. The zookeeper called for help and the staff helped the giraffe to his feet. They took him inside the barn, where he collapsed again.

Officials say Elliot was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury and a veterinarian began treating him. But the giraffe died a short time later.

Elliot was just three weeks old when he arrived at the zoo in December 2012. A female giraffe was added to the zoo in January. The zoo added the giraffes after a 23-year-old giraffe named Sidney died last summer.

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