Sunday, June 20, 2010

California sea lion
Zalophus californianus

Are you tired of seeing sea lions here? I know I am. The pictures above don't give an accurate sense of just how many sea lions are still in the area. I've mentioned previously that they're really stinky, which makes watching them for any amount of time almost unbearable for me. Please see my previous posts dated June 6, 2010 and May 5, 2010 for postscript notes of my observations of unusual birthing and new local gathering spots during the past couple months. True to their word, the Marine Mammal Center and NOAA taped off some beaches and placed additional signs up designating the "temporary rookery" and federally protected status of CA sea lions. Quite honestly, with all the yellow plastic tape around the rec trail, it looks like there's a police investigation or something.

Recently (06/18/10), I chatted a bit with a local, nationally recognized marine sanctuary volunteer. He calls the birthing of CA sea lions in our area a catastrophe. While he's seen mothers trying to nurse their newborns, he hasn't seen any milk produced. He thinks there's a lot of misinformation being given out to the public by local organizations. He said the females didn't have enough food down in the Channel Islands and that's why they headed this far north. I'm not sure how he would know this.

I am curious to know how the mass numbers of sea lions this year are affecting the populations of squid, sardines, mackerel, smelt, anchovies, and grunion.

ps 06/28/10 - For more information check out The Marine Mammal Center's post on this unusual local birthing.


John W. Wall said...

The Marine Mammal Center just posted on their blog about this. They said it might be related to El Nino since a similar thing happened back in '99. They didn't mention that moms weren't producing milk. I guess even SF's Pier 39 has seen some births this year. Pretty weird!

Nature ID said...

Thank you, John, for the MMC blog mention - I was unaware they even had a blog. This helps as I'd like to hear what's really going on. Again, thanks!