When we enjoyed our daylong cruise of the inlets and along the shorelines of Kenai Fjords National Park, we were lucky enough to see some colonies of stellar sea lions.
There are seven different species of sea lions, and stellar is the largest. They are quite impressive, with the males averaging about nine feet long and 1250 pounds. The females are about a foot and a half smaller and top the scales at less than half of the males. Bulls command a harem of three to twenty females during breeding season and display an extremely aggressive and territorial personality. What rogues!
They dive into the ocean for their food, going as deep as 600 feet and staying submerged for up to 40 minutes. Fish and cephalopods sustain them, including octopus and squid. Stellar sea lions are currently a threatened species. Thousands were once killed each year in the nets of Alaskan fishermen. Changes in fishing gear and techniques a couple of decades ago have resulted in a reduction of those being inadvertently killed.
The stellar sea lion is considered a pinniped, which means it is equipped with a winged foot. And one of the things that they love to do is lay out on the rocks and bask in the afternoon sun! Don’t they look quite content?