FORT WALTON BEACH — Rook and Rory, two juvenile California sea lions, showed off their good behavior and earned their weight in fish during their debut appearance at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.

Joining their fellow sea lions Ada, at 146 pounds, and Taylor, at 550 pounds, Rook and Rory did a few behavioral tricks for a full house Wednesday morning.

Rook and Rory came to the Gulfarium in December, where they've been cared for and continue to be trained.

The two pups were found stranded on California beaches in May 2018. Although some stranded sea lions are rehabilitated and released, Rook and Rory were deemed unreleasable because of their young age, said Bryan "Sea Lion Bryan" Martin, the Gulfarium's director of animal management.

After being contacted by Seaworld, the Gulfarium volunteered to take in Rook and Rory.

"Who doesn't love more animals of any age, but especially adorable little sea lions," Martin said.

Martin drove with a trainer in a truck to pick up Rook and Rory in New Orleans.

"We had the air conditioning on," Martin said. "They slept the whole way."

Rook and Rory were quarantined for the first couple months for assessment purposes, but they have adapted well to their environment and the other sea lions, Martin said.

"Everybody assumes they're going to be afraid of Taylor because he's just so big, and a lot of times Taylor's the one running because he wants his own space and he's got two little pups climbing all over him," Martin said.

As of right now, Rook and Rory are in their permanent home. But Martin said the Gulfarium will continue to monitor the two pups. Rook will likely grow large and might need to be moved for space purposes.

There are many possible reasons why the two sea lion pups stranded.

Martin said the mother often leaves her sea lion pups to search for food in the water for as long as a few weeks, depending on how comfortable she is.

"She usually comes back to the same beach, and the pup doesn't wander," Martin said. "They find each other by physical location or even calling. There will be a lot of pup calls. That way mom and pup know each other's voices before she leaves."

Unfortunately, chances are that the mother sea lion will never return to her pups for different reasons, such as predators or lack of a food supply.

"We're finding that fish populations are lower in oceans across the world, and if she has to stay out longer or go further out to find food, it can take her longer, which might make the pup hungry and start to wander looking for mom," Martin said.

People approaching sea lions and other marine animals could also lead to stranding, Martin said.

"A lot of times, that is out of the desire to learn more, understand and potentially help if they think an animal is in need," Martin said. "But for marine mammals that's illegal."

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 makes it illegal to "take" marine mammals without a permit, meaning people aren't authorized to harass, feed, hunt, capture, collect or kill marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and manatees.

Sea lions and seals, unlike dolphins, can stay out of the water indefinitely, something Martin said many don't understand.

Although sea lions aren't common in Florida, Martin said Rook and Rory provide ample opportunity to educate the public.

"We want them to come here, we'll take care of them," Martin said. "Then we can do presentations, meet-and-greets ... to show everyone how important they are and get the word out of why it is important to protect the ocean and give them the space they deserve."