| Steller sea lions are divided into two groups for conservation purposes. Those that live around Alaska and Russia are classified as endangered. The others, from southeastern Alaska south to California, are threatened. In Oregon and southeastern Alaska, the number of Steller sea lions has remained stable, but in the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and southern California, numbers have declined dramatically in the last 20 years. The problem may be disease, reduced food availability, commercial fishing operations, some combination of these three factors, or there may be an as-yet unknown cause. Stellers feed on fish, squid, and octopus. They tend to avoid people, and use rocky islands to breed and rest. Individuals always return to the island where they were born to breed. Rookeries, where calves are born, and haulout sites for resting are usually packed with animals vocalizing noisily throughout the day. During the breeding season the competition among males for territorial space and females is loud, constant, and intense. Fighting is frequent and males may fast for 1-2 months while they try to stay in control of a group of females. The rigors of mating are costly; males tend to live half as long as females, only reaching their mid-teens.
Also known as:
Northern Sea Lion, Seevitchie
Males are much larger than females.
2.8 m males; 2.3 m females
up to 3.3 m males; up to 2.9 m females
566 kg males; 263 kg females
up to 1,120 kg males; up to 350 kg females
Schreber, J.C.D., 1776. in Schreber's Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen, Wolfgang Walther, Erlangen, 7 volumes, 1774-1846; text, 3(17):300; 3(17):pl. 83.B.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account * (opens in a new window).
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).
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