A second sea lion has died at Napier's Marineland in as many months.
A male sea lion, Makea, died on Friday while being examined by a team of vets.
Napier City Council tourism services manager Neil Fergus said Makea had shown signs of being unwell for a number of days leading up to his death.
Marineland's vet was monitoring Makea but because the 22-year-old sea lion was uninterested in his food it was difficult to medicate him.
A team of vets from Massey University were called in and put Makea under general anaesthetic to assess him.
However, he did not recover from the anaesthetic.
Mr Fergus said an autopsy had been done to determine the seal's cause of death. He expected the results in the coming weeks.
Makea's death comes just a month after Rufus, a california sea lion, died on his way to see a vet in Palmerston North.
Rufus was just short of his 8th birthday. He too was unwell before he died.
There are now just eight seals and sea lions remaining at the closed Marineland.
The council and the Conservation Department are still deciding what to do with the animals now that the little penguins have moved into a purpose-built home at the National Aquarium.
Last year, a High Court ruling upheld the council's decision to close the attraction, which shut in April 2009.
Council chief executive Neil Taylor said the council was still working through what would happen to the animals.
It had to shelve discussions on the future of the Marineland site and animals while it was before the court.
Mr Taylor said all options would be explored. Nothing had been ruled out, and euthanising the seals was also a possibility.He did not know how long a decision would take.
- The Dominion Post
Testing drugs on animals is:Related story: Animal tests 'key' to brain disease cures