It's a boy!! The Alaska SeaLife Center is pleased to announce the birth of a male Steller Sea Lion pup at 12:14 pm on July 20, 2014. Parents are 14-year-old mother, Eden, and 21-year-old father, Woody. Eden and pup are healthy and doing well. The pup is not expected to be available for public viewing for a few months.
Eden and Woody became parents last summer with the birth of Ellie on June 20, 2013. Ellie marked the first Steller Sea Lion pup born in North American collections since the mid 1980s.
For almost 10 years, Steller Sea Lion research has continued to be one of the largest research focuses at the Alaska SeaLife Center. It is no wonder either—Steller Sea Lion populations in western and south-central Alaska are still below historic numbers, have not fully recovered from significant population declines, and remain listed as endangered on the Federal Endangered Species List. It is not only important to study this species to ensure their survival, but to also learn more about the marine ecosystems in which they inhabit, and how they adapt to environmental change.
In 2001, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), under the U.S. Department of Commerce, recognized the uniqueness of the Alaska SeaLife Center and our abilities to conduct field, captive, and laboratory studies by awarding the Research Department federal appropriations to support Steller Sea Lion research. Currently, the center is the only facility in the U.S. that houses Steller Sea Lions in captivity for research-specific purposes. There are currently eight Steller sea lions at the Alaska SeaLife Center: three males Woody, Pilot, and the new pup and five females Sugar, Sitka, Tasu, Eden, and Ellie.
When pinniped declines in Alaska were becoming a national concern in the early 1990s, scientists began increasing their efforts to extensively study these species. By 1992, Congress appointed a Steller Sea Lion Recovery Team to identify research priorities for agencies to address that would help in the overall recovery and management of Steller Sea Lions. Steller Sea Lion research at the Alaska SeaLife Center is structured around several broad categories—all of which were prioritized as important areas of research by the Steller Sea Lion Recovery Team. Each category is termed important as they are directly linked to either understanding why this species declined or directly contributes to overall recovery of the species. To learn more about each specific project, click below.
All ASLC Steller Sea Lion research projects conducted in the U.S. are federally permitted and undergo Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews. The research categories that broadly encompass our Steller Sea Lion research include:
By learning more about juvenile Sea Lion physiology and behavior, scientists may yield why this particular age class may be having difficulty surviving in the wild. With our special, quarentined facility (amicably named Steller South Beach) dedicated to temporarily housing wild juvenile Sea Lions, the Alaska SeaLife Center has quickly become one of the important forerunners for juvenile Sea Lion research. The facility, and its resulting research, has led to non-invasive and cutting edge developments that are pioneering new ways of studying and holding marine mammals in captive settings.