Kenai Fjords National Park offers an amazing abundance of wildlife viewing. Marine mammals are no exception.
The Stellar Sea Lion (Eumetopias Jubatus) is the largest of the eared seals. These things are truly massive!
A female is about seven feet in length and weighs about 279 kg / 600 pounds. Males are much bigger at around nine feet in length and anywhere between 680 kg / 1,500 pounds to 1090 kg / 2,400 pounds in weight! They are impressive on land and in the water.
The Stellar Sea Lion lives across the North Pacific region from Japan to Alaska and down to central California. Apart from summer when they come ashore to breed, they spend most of their time at sea. Thus they are extremely strong swimmers and Males have been tracked from the coast of California to the Bering Sea some 6,437 km / 4000 miles away! Despite their size they still have to show caution as they are hunted as prey by both the Orca and Salmon Shark.
I was observing this colony far out in the national park from a tour boat. They were generally lazing about, but then a big male started to cause some commotion. Then a number started to head for the sea. Good to see them in action so to speak.
I know it’s better to see them in the wild but if you want to get an up close idea of how big the Stellar Sea Lion really is, don’t miss going to the Alaska SeaLife Centre in Seward. They have a big male there that is pushing the top end of the scale for sure!