Serious about their sunbathing: The California Sea Lions

The other day we went down to Pier 39 to mingle with the tourists. I had been wanting to take some pics of the sea lions and I finally had my chance.

California Sea Lions
Bathing beauties

The Sea Lions arrived at the pier shortly after the Loma Prieta Quake in 1989. At first, they were unwelcome as they made it impossible for the boats to dock. However, they were soon made welcome and it was the boats that were evicted. They have since become a major tourist attraction.

California Sea Lions
California Sea Lions

The Marine Mammal Center has a good display there and they arrive post haste when there is an injured sea lion.

California Sea Lion skeleton
California Sea Lion skeleton. It is noted that this animal died of natural causes

The docks weren’t full of sea lions when we were there. I’ve seen the docks full of them. They’re noisy enough that they can be heard down on Market street, many blocks away. It can get rather smelly too. They are worth visiting as it’s rare to be that close to them. While not in danger of extinction at this time, they are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection act of 1972. The act prohibits the hunting, killing, capture, or harassment of the Sea Lions and other marine mammals.

Here are the rest of the photos. I hope you enjoy them.

California Sea Lion - male
Big daddy sunbathing. The males are easily distinguished from the females. They have a much thicker neck and chest. In addition, they have a protruding crest on their forehead.
California Sea Lion - female
Bathing beauty. As you can see, she has a smaller head and neck than the male pictured above.
Western Grebe
The Western Grebe can be found along side the sea lions. I love the red eyes.
This seagull was watching the tourists and probably hoping they would drop some food.
California Sea Lion
As you can see, this guy is taking his sunbathing very seriously. Some young rowdies got on his nerves resulting in the next photo.
California Sea Lions
The young rowdies. This is what happened when they interrupted some serious sunbathing with some horseplay. They were unceremoniously shoved off the dock.

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