The Australian Sea Lion is the only sea lion species that breeds only in the west and southern coasts of Australia. It is an endangered species, with only 10,000 individuals left after the introduction of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1972. This Act prohibited harvesting the sea lions which began as soon as the Europeans colonised Australia.
Australian sea lions on the beach
This sea creature eats only at sea. They hunt for squid, fish, and other sea animals. They have front flippers which allow them to quickly propel themselves through water, and also be agile on land by walking on all 4 flippers.
The Australian sea lion’s breeding cycle is rather unusual within the pinniped family. It has an 18 month cycle, which is not synchronised between the different Australian sea lion colonies. Breeding seasons can range between 5 to 7 months long, although it has been recorded to be up to 9 months at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island.
Sea lion love
During the breeding season, bulls do not have fixed territories. As a result, males will fight other males from a very young age to establish their individual position in the male hierarchy. Some are also known to kill young ones to defend their territory. During the breeding season, dominant males will guard their females for the right to bred with her when she comes into oestrus. This happens for 24 hours within 7 to 10 days after she has given birth to her new pup. She will look after her new pup, and will fight off the previous season’s pup if it attempts to suckle from her.