26 September 2023

Seasonal sea lions line up for breeding

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The winter sea lion breeding season has officially begun with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) announcing that the first newly born sea lion pup has arrived.

Seal Bay Research and Operations Coordinator from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Melanie Stonnill said the first newborn Australian sea lion pup of the season was born at Seal Bay on Mother’s Day (8 May), signalling the start of the winter breeding season for the endangered marine mammal.

Ms Stonnill said the newborn pup, named ‘Remi’ by DEW staff, is a welcome addition to the local population, helping bolster numbers of one of the world’s most endangered pinnipeds (sea lions, seals and walruses).

“Winter explorers to Seal Bay may be able to spot hiding pups in the saltbush while wandering the boardwalk or by joining a guided beach tour,” Ms Stonnill said.

“Bull fights and territory dominance will likely be displayed on the main beach,” she said.

“The newborn pups will spend their first months in the safety of the sand dunes, tea trees and rocky caves behind the beach.”

She said: “Mum will spend three days at sea fishing, consuming a third of her body weight in order to produce enough milk to nurse their pups on land.”

Ms Stonnill said Seal Bay was the world’s third largest colony of Australian sea lions with an estimated population of 800.

“South Australia is home to an estimated 85 per cent of the worlds’ 12,000 Australian sea lions, many of which breed on the offshore islands dotted around the State’s coastline,” she said.

Visitors to Seal Bay can pre-book guided tours online via email inquiry [email protected].

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