California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)

California Sea Lions can be seen in coastal waters of the North Pacific, Vancouver Island south to Mexico. In most areas, they prefer to haul out and breed on sandy beaches and females give birth from late May through July. Males establish their territories and females are pregnant for 10 months and nurse for about 8 months. California sea lions are playful, intelligent, and very vocal (sounding like barking dogs). They eat over 50 species of fish, squid, octopus, and mollusks. Adult females and juveniles are slender bodied and are blonde to tan. Adult males are more robust and are mostly dark brown to black in color; they have a pronounced crest on their forehead that is crowned with tufts of blonde or lighter hair. A common behavior exhibited by sea lions is called “sailing”. This is when a sea lion holds their flippers above the water motionless for a long period of time; they are regulating their body temperature. A lot of times people believe the animal is trapped in a net, if you cannot see a buoy or net gear the animal is most likely exhibiting this behavior. California sea lions are becoming more abundant along the West Coast of the United States, and  with increasing populations, more reports of strandings occur.

Current threats include incidental catch and entanglement in fishing gear; biotoxins, as a result of harmful algal blooms; and human-caused injuries such as gunshot wounds as California sea lions are sometimes viewed as a nuisance by commercial fishermen.

To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call: 1-866-767-6114 
For law enforcement, harassments,  and other violations, please call:  1-800-853-1964