Is the Sea Lion Population at Risk?

By Meghan Cleary   |   July 25, 2023
Is the sea lion population at risk? (photo courtesy of CIMWI)

Sea lion population numbers are stable after more than 50 years of federal protection. But with the combination of more frequent and escalating algae blooms, and so many pregnant animals and their newborn pups being affected, it’s up for debate as to whether that will continue. “It’s a big question whether the population numbers will be affected going forward,” says Dr. Vanessa Fravel Hoard, a marine mammal veterinarian and research associate with the Marine Mammal Center and Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

What to do:

– If you come across a stranded marine mammal, be sure to give it space. Don’t crowd it, touch it, or prod it in any way. Keep in mind these are federally protected animals who may be having seizures, strokes, or brain damage that may cause them to act erratically.

– To report a mammal in distress, call the CIMWI hotline at (805) 567-1505 or fill out a contact form with photo, GPS location of the mammal, and any descriptive features of the mammal like size and observable symptoms:

– Do not eat unregulated shellfish.

How to help:

Frontline marine mammal rescue organizations need donations for everything from sea lion fish food to rescue equipment, and to cover sharply increased operational costs like electricity and water during this crisis.

Santa Barbara and Channel Islands, Ventura
Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)

Malibu and Topanga
California Wildlife Center

Los Angeles County
Marine Mammal Care

San Diego and Orange County
Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Marine Animal Rescue

San Luis Obispo
Marine Mammal Center


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