Featured Image Credit: Connor Jay @ Marine Mammal Center
By Laura O’Brien
Californian sea lions live primarily –you guessed it- off the coast of California. Luckily for Californian surfers, sea lions aren’t quite as ferocious as land lions are. Sea lions are coastal marine mammals that usually do not swim farther than 10 miles into the sea, and usually do not stray very far inland either. However, there are some situations that lure the furry creatures up waterways, away from the ocean. Sea lions may travel slightly inland during cold days of their breeding season which begins in May; or sometimes they stray even farther, swimming up to 200 miles upstream in order to catch salmon whose migration patterns are interrupted by dams.
Despite their ability to travel so far for food, it is highly unusual for sea lions to make an appearance in Dixon, California. That is exactly why residents of Solano County were stunned when they spotted sea lions on two separate occasions within the same week.
The first sea lion was dubbed Leisure, after a street near where he was spotted swimming in a drainage canal. Leisure was seen sunbathing and catching fish, and he had the fortune of finding his own way back down the canals he had come from.
The second sea lion received his name from the town where they were both found, Dixon. Unlike Leisure, Dixon the sea lion was found sleeping on dry land. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito received a call which informed them of Dixon’s presence. Once Dixon’s situation had been assessed, they determined that Dixon needed to be relocated. Despite his seemingly healthy condition, he was stranded and his choice to rest on dry land was a cause for concern. People who worked for the county as well as volunteers helped rescue the VERY LARGE stranded sea lion.
The lucky sea lion got a free ride to The Marine Mammal Center, where they were able to perform medical tests in order to ensure that he was healthy enough to be released in a more appropriate area. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is one example of the outstanding organizations which work to conserve and protect our marine life. They rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals, and provide educational experiences to help others learn why marine conservation is so important. Centers like this one are located all over the world, and many of them accept volunteers. Just think, maybe you could help save a sea lion like Dixon!
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