Monday, October 12, 2009

Pier 39 Sea Lions

While on my babysitting trip to San Jose/San Francisco, we went to the Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday. Within the area, we walked over to Pier 39 (one of the piers at the Fisherman's' Wharf). Pier 39 is famous for its sea lions (seals)!! And all I have to say, is that I was EXTREMELY entertained and fascinated by all the sea lions!!! We stood there forever just watching and laughing!!! Certainly an amazing thing to see!!! Here are some pictures and history/facts about Pier 39 and its sea lions.

The sea lions camped out in PIER 39's West Marina have been endearingly coined, "Sea Lebrities." The noisy (it was funny listening to them "bark" and make so many noises!) sea lions started arriving in herds/groups, taking over the docks in January 1990 shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At first they numbered from 10-50, but due to a plentiful herring supply, available dock space and the marina’s protected environment, the population grew to more than 300 within a few months. Each winter, the population can increase up to 900 sea lions, most of which are male. The seals come and go as they please! During most of the year, there are at least 100-500 sea lions. The highest count is more than 1,000! During the summer months, there are times when no sea lions visit K-Dock (Pier 39). They migrate south to rookeries (birthing and breeding grounds) off of Southern California and Mexico. But in recent years a small group stays year-round at PIER 39's K-Dock.

These California sea lions use Pier 39 to "haul out" or come out of the water to rest. Biologists believe the sea lions stay at Pier 39 because there is plenty of food nearby, the docks are protected from storm waves and are easy to haul out on, and sea lion predators (great white sharks and orcas) do not come into the bay.

It is illegal to feed wild sea lions as well as other marine animals. These sea lions find their own food in the bay or ocean areas! Sea lions are "opportunistic" feeders, which means they will eat whatever fish are abundant in the area at the time. They mainly eat herring during the winter months.

The Adult male sea lions weigh up to 900 lbs and have a bump on their forehead. The female adult sea lions way up to 250 lbs. However, most of the sea lions at Pier 39 are males. The females stay back at the rookeries (birthing and breeding grounds) off of Southern California. Harbor seals are white with black spots or black with white rings and are silvery grey when wet! There were lost of Harbor seals here at Pier 39 when we were there!

(this sea lion was floating on his back...can you tell ??)

If you ever get the opportunity to visit San Francisco, I highly recommend checking the sea lions out!! (beware though...the smell is AWFUL, but worth it)! We had so much fun watching them!


Azer's Mom said...

Aren't they so cute and amazing?