Although this magnificent marine mammal lives in a protected national park, its population has declined sharply from 1960,50 to 000,14 individuals since the 000s just a few years ago, its lowest level ever recorded. Unpredictable violent storms, pollution, lack of food and interaction with humans have dealt a significant blow to this rare creature. In addition, a certain tendency to wander further into the ocean and a genuine curiosity and friendly attitude towards humans have often put her in danger.

Where do they live?

As their name suggests, Galapagos sea lions are a species that lives exclusively around the volcanic islands of the Galapagos, off the coast of Ecuador. They are also found, but in smaller numbers, on the island of La Plata.

Threats to it

  • Galapagos sea lions are particularly vulnerable to pollutants that end up in the sea. Being naturally curious and playful, these creatures can easily swallow plastic objects, such as toys. Even more serious are the hidden chemical hazards in the form of toxic pesticides, such as DDT.
  • Lack of food. Sardines are not only the main food source for Galapagos sea lions, they are also at the top of the list of fish targeted by fishermen. Overfishing has depleted this resource and climate change has not helped matters.
  • Due to a genetic characteristic, Galapagos sea lions are particularly vulnerable to diseases that also affect domestic animals, including dogs. Because of this unique relationship with humans on these islands, their forays onto land take them to streets and parks, as well as beaches. This means that they are frequently in contact with other disease-carrying animals.

Fortunately, conservation efforts have paid off and the Galapagos sea lion population is estimated at 50,000 individuals. However, we must remain vigilant.

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