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Steller Sea Lion Eumetopias jubatus


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Steller Sea Lion, male with harem
credit: Eliezg/CCSA

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Alternate name: Northern Sea Lion

Family: Otariidae, Eared Seals view all from this family

Description Bearlike head with a short straight snout. Larger and paler than California Sea Lion. Males have long, coarse hair on massive chest, neck and shoulders. Pups are born with a dark brown fur that molts to a lighter color after three months. First toe on hind flipper is largest. Skull unique with conspicuous space between upper fourth and fifth post-canine teeth.

Dimensions 2.7-3.2m, 500-1120kg; / 1.9-2.9m, 263-365kg

Endangered Status The Steller Sea Lion is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened in Washington, Oregon, California, and in Alaska east of 144 degrees W longitude; the Alaska population west of that line of longitude is classified as endangered. Stellar Sea Lions are declining precipitously in number for unknown reasons, and the worldwide population has been reduced by 80 percent in recent years. It is thought that a major contributing factor may be the overfishing of pollack, the sea lion's preferred food in Alaska. Changes in ocean temperature, long-term exposure to pollutants and other toxins, and disease may also play a part. Steller Sea Lions are protected by both the U.S. and Canadian Endangered Species Acts as well as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is illegal to harrass, harm, or kill them.

Breeding Hauls out all along west coast for pupping and breeding in traditional rookeries, most common in Alaska

Habitat Beaches, shorelines & estuaries, Offshore waters

Range California, Northwest, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion An endangered species that is declining in numbers. These are easily detected by the cacophony produced by the sealsí vocalizations. Swims far from shore to fish.