California Sea Lion

(Zalophus californianus)

Find Me In
B.C. Wild Coast
IUCN Conservation Status
Least Concern (LC)


Eastern Coastal Pacific from northern mainland Mexico to Southern Alaska / Sandy beaches, rocky ledges & coastal headlands, wharfs, docks, channel buoys, log booms, and moored boats


Size: Up to 8.2 ft. • Weight: Up to 860 lbs.

California Sea Lions are charismatic and playful marine mammals with sleek bodies, large front flippers, and adorable faces. Found along the western shores of North America from Baja California to British Columbia.

California Sea Lions are highly social and communicate with a symphony of barks, growls, honks, and grunts, creating a lively atmosphere along the coastlines they inhabit. Remarkable divers, they can plunge to depths of over 900 feet (275 meters) and stay submerged for up to 15 minutes, hunting for fish, squid, and crustaceans.

During the breeding season, male California Sea Lions establish territories and compete for control over a group of females, known as a harem. Females gather in large colonies, called rookeries, to give birth and nurse their pups. These adorable pups are born with a thick coat of dark brown fur, which gradually sheds and transitions to a lighter, sleeker coat as they grow older.

Protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, California Sea Lions serve as ambassadors for marine conservation. By learning about these incredible creatures and spreading awareness, we can contribute to the preservation of their habitats and ensure a brighter future for them and the marine ecosystems they call home. Appreciate our rescued California Sea Lions up close in the B.C. Wild Coast gallery at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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