California Sea Lion - Status


The IUCN lists the California sea lion as Least Concern due to "its large and increasing population size." The estimated population is 238,000–241,000 for the US or Temperature Pacific stock, 75,000–85,000 for the Western Baja California or Pacific Tropical stock, and 31,393 for the population in the Gulf of California. Off the US coast, sea lions are so numerous that they are close to carrying capacity, while the Gulf of California population declined by 20% by 2008. Sea lions may be killed when in conflict with fishermen, by poaching, and by entanglements in man-made garbage. They are also threatened by pollutants like DDT and PCB which accumulate in the marine food chain.

In the United States, the California sea lion is protected on the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), passed in 1972, which outlaws hunting, killing, capture, and harassment of the animal. In 2007, the MMPA was amended to permit their lethal removal from salmon runs at Bonneville Dam (HR 1769: Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act). The 2007 law seeks to relieve pressure on the crashing Pacific Northwest salmon populations. Wildlife officials have unsuccessfully attempted to ward off the sea lions using bombs, rubber bullets and bean bags. Efforts to chase sea lions away from the area have also proven ineffective. Critics like the Humane Society object to the killing of the sea lions, claiming that hydroelectric dams pose a greater threat to the salmon.

Read more about this topic:  California Sea Lion

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