Monterey Bay sea lion
The California Monterey Bay sea lion is a member of the “eared seal” family. These pinnipeds are adept at leaping distances out of the water, and are often found sitting on top of rocks, floating docks and beams under fishing piers, and even balancing on floating buoys.
The Monterey Bay sea lion population in this area fluctuates during the year, with numbers of mature animals migrating to the southern California breeding grounds in the late spring, then returning to Monterey Bay in the summer, often accompanied by more young animals moving up from southern California waters. Traditionally we see more juvenile and male sea lions in the Monterey Bay area, as mature females may stay closer to the breeding colonies in southern California. However, as the California sea lion population is expanding, a growing number of adult females and juveniles are seen in Monterey Bay.
California sea lions are often seen in boating marinas, lounging on wharfs, pilings, buoys and even boats. Their loud barking and boisterous acrobatics make them noticeable neighbors. Always looking for an easy meal, sea lions will follow fishing boats, and even feeding humpback whales and dolphins, hoping to take advantage of fishes that spill from nets or are concentrated by the work of other animals.
Historically the numbers of California sea lions declined north of Monterey Bay and their larger cousin, the Steller sea lion, was more common in the north. In recent decades the numbers of Steller sea lions have declined dramatically and California sea lions are the more common species throughout California and many parts of Oregon and Washington.
Courtesy of the > Monterey Bay Aquarium