Spring has sprung and I’m already dreaming about heading out into the field this summer… We’ll be heading back out to the Aleutian Islands and visiting all these sites of which you have all been viewing. I’m very excited to visit one of my favorite sites, Hasgox Point on Ulak Island. Which is where our May Sea Lion of the Month was born! This month’s sea lion is >38 who is a female that was born in 2013. When she was marked, she weighed 76 pounds (34.6 kg) and was just over 3.5 feet (111 cm) long.
This female has only ever been seen on Ulak Island so she is definitely sticking to her birth place. We seen her each year during our visits on the summer research cruise (hopefully we see her this year, again!). We saw her with her first pup last year, in 2018 when she was 5 years old. This is the pretty typical age to have a first pup and means she bred in previous summer (2017. It is certainly possible she had a pup in 2017 however, when we saw her there was quite the commotion so we didn’t get a good look.
When we saw her during our visit in 2017. We had gone to shore in hopes to mark more pups however, three killer whales showed up which meant we didn’t want to push any animals in the water so we had about a 5-hour killer whale show around the rookery. You can see in the picture that when killer whales show up, sea lions are alert and ready to jump in the water. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? You’ll find its mostly adults that work this group mob mentality and the smaller juveniles tend to stay on shore, as they’re pretty good snacking size for the whales. Fortunately, on this day, the killer whales didn’t get any sea lions and moved along and we were able to mark animals the next day.
Have any of you seen her with a pup or at a site other than Ulak?
We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations!