Steller Sea Lion Facts
- The Steller Sea Lion ranks as the largest of all forms of eared seals. In fact, among pinnipeds, only the walrus and 2 species of elephant seals grow larger.
- Further, the IUCN currently lists this magnificent ocean creature as Near Threatened.
- This sea lion was named in honor of Georg Wilhelm Steller who was the German botanist and zoologist who first described the species, in 1741.
- Its numbers have, for reasons still undetermined, decreased substantially in the past 30 years, over much of its range. Therefore, numerous, though sadly, not all, countries have banned the slaughter of these impressive creatures.
- The animal now has protection via the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States. That country controls the largest portion of its endemic range.
The Steller Sea Lion inhabits a decidedly northern territory range from the Sea of Okhotsk to an island off the coast of northern California, United States, in North America.
Its endemic range once extended much further.
Not surprisingly, it has been reduced by a combination of climate change and direct interaction with humans (hunting).
These skilled marine predators feed on a wide range of cephalopod and fish species, sometimes even on small species of seals.
In addition, its only known natural predators include orcas and larger sharks.
The mammals typically congregate in large groups for mating and rearing the young, a process usually occurring on the beaches of remote islands. A single birth is most common, though multiple births do happen occasionally as well.