Leader of the Pack: Sea Lions at Pier 39

Leader of the Pack

Leader of the Pack. Protector. Look-out. Regal.

These are the words that come to mind when I reflect on this photo I took of a California sea lion on Pier 39 in San Francisco. It is easy to anthropomorphize this wildlife when you consider their cute, playful personalities. But make no mistake, these massive beasts are wild mammals, sometimes tipping the scales at 850 pounds for males.

As the California sea lions relax and bask in the sun, it looks as if they have not a care in the world. Yet, they expend a great deal of energy fishing until they return to the dock to rest. Although all appears calm, this is not always the case, as they regularly bark, bite and posture over who arrived at that particular spot first.  At times, the idyllic setting becomes noisy, and gives off a slightly pungent odor.

The sea lions arrived shortly after the earthquake of 1989 and 20 years later in 2009, census topped out at 1,701 sea lions. And they may be here to stay — according to the folks at Pier 39, the sea lions will always have a home here.

Want to check out the California sea lions on Pier 39 right now via webcam?

Pier 39 recently celebrated its 35th anniversary and offers a variety of interesting activities. Other attractions at Pier 39 include shopping, restaurants, an aquarium, musical stairs and a historic carousel.

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