Credits: Papers from Moninda’s Sea Memories; Elements from PouYou and Me kit; Journal Paper from Scrapmatter’s Life Little Surprises kit
California Sea Lions are found along the coast of eastern North Pacific from the coast of Vancouver all the way to Baja California in Mexico. They are known to be the most intelligent of all sea lions. These playful curious animals are highly social as well, which makes them adapt easily to artificial environments. Because of this, California sea lions are commonly found in public displays in zoos and marine parks and are even trained by the US Navy for certain military operations hence.
Pier 39 is admittedly so touristy and is crowded with shoppers and souvenir seekers. So why am I there, you might ask? Wildlife fascinates me and one attraction that appealed to me lies just outside the shopping arcades, on the marina next door. They are known as the Pier 39 sea lions.
Some of California sea lions took over the “K” dock of Pier 39 in 1989 becoming immediate tourists favorites. They can be found sunbathing, barking and up to their old antics at the marina. They showed up shortly after the 1989 earthquake arriving in droves probably chasing after an abundant run of herring in the area. They soon took over the dock by January 1990 and since then been entertaining both visitors and locals alike. During winter the population increases while it dwindles during the summer months, as many would migrate south to the Channel Islands to breed. Outside of the breeding season, they often gather on marinas and wharves so they start coming back sometime around late July.
Today it is a far cry from the heyday when they reached over 1,700 at one point. At the end of 2009, nearly all had left apparently for Oregon – again in search of food. It was explained that the abrupt change in the classic upwelling pattern caused their food source to shift further offshore. Good heavens, they slowly migrated back in February 2009, remained and hopefully increase again in population.