Athos is Paulo and Lisa’s happy Patagonian sea lion. He is a complete artist who maintains his 350kg while balancing on a fin, gives voice and terror to his females when approaching summer and heat period (I'm not talking about summer temperature but hormone related behaviours).
Initially, they worked in a circus in Spain, and to ensure a better future for their animals and their families, Paulo and Lisa changed their lives and joined la Tanière. To enter France, sea lions must undergo a blood test. Confident in the ability of Athos and his females not to pick a fight with the vet who has to take this sample, the family was looking for a courageous volunteer. The first vet declined the request, convinced that he could not accomplish the mission properly. The second criticised the procedure, proposing another one, and the last suggested signing the documents without testing. This is how Patrick Violas and Florence Ollivet-Courtois found themselves on a plane to Spain in order to take their own blood tests and test them.
A special cage was made to protect them from possible blows. They grasp the posterior fin and prick the superficial veins that circulate under the skin between the fingers. It is good and warm in the end of September and the manoeuvre does not take very long. The longest part will be to wait for the tests and write up the results!
The carbon footprint of this operation is not very bright, but making a new life possible and ensuring the good health of the sea lions is priceless.