NEWPORT, Ore., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Officials with the Oregon Coast Aquarium said they have found a potent fundraiser in paintings created by a pair of sea lions.
Jen DeGroot, a marine mammalogist at the Newport facility, said she taught sea lion Lea to paint and make flipper prints two years ago as a means of keeping the mammal occupied, and she soon found fellow aquarium workers and animal lovers were willing to pay for the flipper art, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Monday.
"We thought, 'This is a popular thing. We can make money for the animals,'" DeGroot said.
Paintings and prints by Lea and fellow sea lion Max are sailing off the shelves at the aquarium's gift shop, manager Candy Torney said.
"People are really impressed and after seeing this, they want to go back out and see the sea lions. It touches people who might not normally be animal appreciators," she said.
Lea and Max are also featured artists in Tifane Grayce's book, "Fur in My Paint."