Blue Zoo: Australian Sea Lion
Featuring one amazing marine animal per week.
Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) now live in southwestern Australia but they used to be much more widespread. They were hunted heavily in the 1600s and 1700s so they were wiped out in many places.
This sea lion has now been protected for more than 100 years, and is listed as Endangered, but the population has not really recovered. Australian sea lions are now one of the most endangered species of pinnipeds (sea lions, seals, and walruses) in the world.
Some people call the Australian sea lion “the most beautiful sea lion in the world.” They have light-colored fur that glows in the sunlight, and are extremely friendly and social, which makes them fun to film. You can read about what it’s like to film Australian sea lions here.
Australian sea lions don’t travel very far and can spend their whole lives close to where they were born. They usually stay in relatively shallow water, but they also are better at walking and climbing on land than most other sea lions.
Australian sea lions are unusual because mating and pupping can happen anytime during the year. Females that live near each other are often on a similar schedule. Some groups of females help take care of each others’ pups.
Though Australian sea lions usually eat small prey like fish and squid, they also sometimes hunt penguins. Their main natural predator is the great white shark.