Steller sea lion necropsy on private beach
Feb/02/10 10:49 PM
Fish and Wildlife biologists performed a necropsy on an adult male Steller sea lion this afternoon. The dead tagged sea lion was reported on the beach yesterday afternoon. Seal Sitters responded and documented the brand and tag info and general condition of the body. This extremely large male was tagged in 2001 at Shilshole Bay and was estimated at that time to be 2-3 years old, making his approximate age between 10 - 12 years. The necropsy team arrived by boat and after performing the procedure and securing samples, the body was towed out to mid channel, weighted with sand bags and released to provide nutrients for other sea life.
Stellers are the largest of all sea lions and can weigh up to 2500 pounds. Lighter in color than California sea lions, another distinguishing feature is a broadened head with less prominent bump on the forehead (sagittal crest). Their population numbers have plummeted in recent years and the western stock is on the endangered list. Read more about Steller sea lions here.