Skip to main content

New Zealand Sea Lion

New Zealand Sea Lions, also sometimes called Hooker's Sea Lions, are the rarest and most vulnerable Sea Lions in the world. It is estimated that only 10,000 still remain, no thanks to decades of human hunting, being scooped up as bycatch for the commercial fishing industry, and bad-luck natural disasters.

Phocarctos hookeri
As the name states, these Sea Lions are found in New Zealand, specifically near the southern, aubantarctic islands. In fact, nearly the entire populations breeds at three colony sites on the Aukland Islands.

Breeding takes place from November to February. The males come ashore first to stake out spots, with the largest, strongest males claiming the most territory and the most number of mates. (Males can grow twice as large as females, if not bigger) Females (who are usually pregnant) arrive soon after. They give birth to a pup, and then breed again 1-2 weeks after.

One standout fact is that during this entire breeding season, the males do not feed. Females return to the water to bring food back for themselves and their growing pups, but the males risk losing their territory if they leave. This is another reason why the largest males tend to be more successful-- they have greater fat stores to sustain them during the summer.

New Zealand Sea Lions are listed as Vulnerable, and their are a handful of actions being taken to keep them safe. Their breeding grounds are now protected, hunting has been banned, and work is being done to prevent them from being captured in fishing nets. Unfortunately, disease has also stricken the Sea Lions-- several different bacterial diseases have spent through the colonies in the past 20 years. The worst, in 1998, killed 53% of all newborns and 20% of breeding females. There is a bright side though-- births in 2013 were the highest they had been in 5 years, and Sea Lions are starting to breed again on islands that had long been absent of colonies.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : New Zealand
Size : Male body length up to 11ft (3.3m), female up to  6.6ft (2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Otariidae -- Genus : Phocarctos -- Species : P. hookeri
Image : Tomas Sobek  Brocken Inaglory

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS