What is bigger than a bear, barks, and is endangered? I'm talking about the magnificent Steller Sea Lion. Now don't get confused with the commonly seen California Sea Lions. Stellers are MUCH MUCH BIGGER! Males can weigh in at nearly 3,000 pounds making them one of the largest members of the Pinniped family (seals/sea lion/walrus).
The Oregon Zoo is actually one of the only zoos in the country to exhibit Steller Sea Lions. The reason is because Stellers require large exhibits, eat 25-30 pounds of fish EACH and every day, and can be dangerous to work with.
These large marine mammals are actually quite graceful underwater. In the wild Steller Sea Lions spend the majority of their time on rocky shores in large groups that can number up to the thousands. They will spend their time in the water to hunt, avoid bad weather, or if they feel threatened.
The zoo has two males named Gus and Julius who were both captive born in the United States. I was even lucky enough to watch a behind-the-scenes training session. These daily training sessions are important for daily health checkups, keeper/animal interactions, and enrichment.
Unfortunately Steller Sea Lions are considered endangered due to commercial fishing, oil spills, global warming and predation by sharks and killer whales.
For more information on how you can visit Gus and Julius at the Oregon Zoo please visit http://corbinmaxey.com/http://www.oregonzoo.org/index.htm