Sea lions are the headliners at Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, the SeaWorld Orlando show that retires on August 10 (don't worry, a new show is coming in 2015), but I have to admit a special fondness for the biggest star, at least in terms of size and girth: Winston Walrus.
I had a rare chance to meet Winston up close and see some of "his" talents (actually, the walrus I met is a female). She weighs over 2000 pounds and is nearly 40 years old, and as you can see by the video accompanying this article, she's a very talented creature.
Like sea lions, walruses are very smart and can learn a wide range of behaviors, including vocalizing and performing certain movements on command. With their bulk, they're not quite as nimble as their sea lion counterparts, but that doesn't stop them from doing some pretty amazing feats. Like the other animals, they learn via positive reinforcement, which rewards them for desirable behaviors. Eventually the behaviors are done on command and are molded into show routines. They're also adapted for multiple shows, like Sea Lions Tonight and special Christmas show, both of which also feature the walrus prominently.
If you enjoyed watching the walrus video, jump to this article to see a sea lion training demo and hear a fascinating talk and question and answer session. You can also see Opie the Otter in this article, although his "performance" consists of hanging around with his trainer and looking cute, which he does very well. If you'd like to see photos from the sea lion training session, go here. For photos of the animals, trainers, and of course the Clyde and Seamore mime, jump here.