Since 1989, sea lions have been a standard fixture on the K dock of Pier 39 in San Francisco. While their numbers can fluctuate, they peak in late summer to fall and serve as a huge tourist attraction. Recently, their numbers have dwindled and it has been reported that the animals may have in fact moved and will not be returning to Pier 39. Experts originally found this move baffling - they couldn't seem to figure out why the sea lions would simply stop hanging out at Pier 39. Marine biologists reported in January that they believed the sea lions may have relocated to the Oregon coast following their food supply, though, they also noted that such a dramatic relocation was unusual. However, the sea lions appearing at all in such large numbers, sometimes as many as 1700, is unusual in and of itself and also happened rather suddenly.
But the sea lions are returning! It has been reported this month that the number of sea lions spotted on Pier 39 have been slowly increasing. Many expect that the sea lions will reppear in comparable numbers to what has been seen before. The Marine Mammal Center may still be able to attempt rescues of sea lions that have been injured and all who visit the Pier may still be able to watch dozens of huge sea lions play, bask in the sun, and bark at one another. You don't have to be in San Francisco, though, to enjoy this spectacle - just check out the Pier 39 sea lion webcam!
ARTICLES and WEBSITES
California Sea Lions Use Dolphins to Locate Food
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