California Dreamin'


Dorsey and Briney are both California sea lions. We've already discussed the difference between a sea lion and a seal, but what's special about California sea lions specifically?

California sea lions are probably the best known sea lion, but there are seven known sea lion species that have been identified.  As their name suggests, California Sea Lions are found mainly around the waters of California. However, they can also be found from British Columbia, Canada in the north, to Mexico in the south. As you will see, most of the sea lions are named for the areas of the world where they can be found. 

One species, the Japanese Sea Lion is believed to be extinct. The Stellar Sea Lion is the largest sea lion and lives in the Northern Pacific, especially around Alaska and Japan. The Australian Sea Lions are only found along the South and West of the Australian Continent. 

The South American Sea Lion is most often seen in the area of Peru. The New Zealand Sea Lions are also referred to as the Hooker’s Sea Lion. It was close to extinction at the end of the 1800’s and has been under protection since 1890.  Even though they are protected, their numbers remain low. Said to be the most social of the sea lions, the Galapagos Sea Lion is only found on the Galapagos Islands and Isla de la Plata. The are also the sea lion species with the highest recorded numbers.

California Sea Lions live in shallow coastal and estuarine waters. An estuary is a transitional area between river and ocean environments. California Sea Lions prefer sandy and rocky beaches, such as the ones replicated in the new Helmerich Sea Lion Cove! The new exhibit has many naturalistic features, like sandy  surfaces, salt water, and even a cave-like area, so our sea lions feel right at home!

We hope YOU will visit our sea lions in their new home soon!