The Australian Sea Lion becomes the first non-bird wildlife to make it onto my bird-flavoured blog, largely because we recently had a visit from this one.
My husband and eldest son went out in the kayaks when it chose to join them. They didn’t get a photo of it when it was right next to their paddles as they were concentrating on not being tipped out if it knocked into them. It was just curious though, and was happy to swim round them for a couple of minutes. Then they watched it as it went off hunting. To their surprise, it brought back its next catch (a small octopus), apparently just to show it off to them.
When they returned it was my turn to go out and, luckily, the sea lion was still there, so I was able to see it too. In fact, it stayed on this stretch of coast for 2 days.
The first time I saw one was on a trip to Seal Island from Penguin Island, south of Perth. There’s a breeding colony there. We watched one jump out of the water and over the bow of a passing kayak. They’re quite playful animals and can be quite like playful dogs at times. Last time I visited Seal Island I watched one playing with a stick and chasing seagulls.
Sadly, there are estimated to be just 11,000 – 15,000 Australian sea lions left in the wild, and they are only found off the South West coast of Australia. Hopefully their numbers may increase with the protection they now receive and also the protection of the fish stock in the region.