It is one of the many success stories of the
The first priority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Farallon Wildlife Refuge is the protection of wildlife. Therefore, the presence of sea lions, especially federally threatened Steller sea lions, on SEFI’s main elephant seal breeding beaches means that PRBO biologists had to modify traditional research protocols. Sea lions here are sensitive to people and easily scared into the water. Thus, instead of walking amongst the elephant seals and stamping them with bleach numbers, we are watching from afar through scopes, reading tags and trying to identify as many individuals as possible by their unique scars. We also census all the age classes twice a day. Although we won’t be able to identify most individual cows, we can still monitor overall reproduction and population size.
It will be a different year for the elephant seal research program. But we can all celebrate in the thriving wildlife populations of the