our-sealions-472x295South American Sea Lions

These cute and playful marine mammals belong to the pinniped family. They have been threatened by hunters even though they are protected in many countries.

Common name: South American Sea Lion
Patagonia Sea Lion

Scientific name: Otaria byronia
Otaria flavescens

Males: Weight 300 to 340 kg
Length 2.3 to 2.8 meters

Females: Weight 140 to 150 kg
Length 0.73 to 0.85 meters

Newborns: Weight 10 to 15 kg
Length 0.73 to 0.85 meters

Distribution: West and East Coast of South America, from Northern Peru around the Southern tip of South America, up to Southern Brazil.

Physical Features: They are generally a shade of brown to golden with some variation in individuals. Adult bulls have a dark brown coat with a long mane of course fur surrounding their neck and chest. Females have a lighter brown to golden coat. Both males and females have lighter bellies.

Breeding Season: Mid December to mid January

Reproduction: Like other sea lions, these animas have what is called “delayed implantation”. That means that males and females come together in December and January. At that time the pregnant females give birth, and they also breed with a male. However, the egg is not implanted inside her body for another 3 months. That allows the female to begin nursing and caring for her newborn pup before she becomes pregnant again. Males and females become sexually mature between 5 to 9 years, although some animals have given birth at younger ages. Once the egg is implanted, gestation is around 9 months. Mothers nurse their young for up to 9 – 12 months.

Longevity: Animals in the wild have been documented to live 12 to 18 years on average. Animals in captivity often live longer, with some living up to 25 years.

Conservation Status: The populations of these sea lions are widely distributed through out South America. The population is considered stable at around 300,000 individuals. These animals are still-hunted in some countries, oftentimes to eliminate them as competition for fishermen. They are also effected by pollution, over fishing, nets and other human activities.

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