The Sea Lion Story & Live webcam
A few California sea lions began “hauling out” on PIER 39’s K-Dock shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989. By January 1990, the boisterous barking pinnipeds started to arrive in droves and completely took over K-Dock, much to the exasperation of PIER 39’s Marina tenants.
The Marina Staff turned to The Marine Mammal Center, an organization devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, for advice about their new slippery tenants. After much debate and research, the experts from The Marine Mammal Center recommended that the sea lions stay in their newfound home.
With a plentiful supply of food from the Bay and an environment protected from predators, the PIER 39 Marina proved to be an ideal living situation for the sea lions. Within a few short months, the number of sea lions grew to more than 300 and hit an all-time record of 1,701 in November 2009.
While the number of sea lions at K-Dock rise and fall with the seasons, available food supply and natural migration patterns, the world famous sea lions always have a home at PIER 39.
LIVE Sea Lion Webcam
To view the Sea Lion LIVE webcam, press the “GO LIVE” button. From there, you can press “Control” to choose a position, snap a screenshot, pause it or enter a full-screen mode. Please contact HD Relay for any technical issues related to the camera presentation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun Facts About Sea Lions
- California sea lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness and noisy barking.
- Although they usually avoid humans, sea lions may bite if provoked.
- Male sea lions reach 850 lbs (390kg) and 7 ft (2. 1m) in length, while females can reach 220 lbs (110kg) and up to 6 ft (1. 8m) in length.
- You can distinguish males from females: males develop a bump or “crest” on their heads at four or ﬁve years of age. A majority of the sea lions at PIER 39 are male.
- Sea lions have external ear ﬂaps—seals do not.
- Sea lions in the wild may live up to 25 years.
- Sea lions migrate to areas across the Paciﬁc Coast, from Vancouver to the southern tip of Baja. Most pups are born on the Channel Islands, located off Southern California, in June.
- California sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is unlawful for unauthorized persons to feed, handle or harass them.
- One of the biggest dangers to sea lions today is becoming entangled in plastic pollution.
Want to learn more about the Sea Lions?
Visit The Marine Mammal Center’s Sea Lion Spot, the hub for all things sea lion at PIER 39. The Sea Lion Spot is located behind the sea lion viewing area (K-Dock), on the second floor. Read all about it here.
The temporary Sea Lion Spot will remain open through October 16, 2023, when it will close for a major renovation. The permanent exhibit will open in spring 2024.
Conservation experts from The Marine Mammal Center are also at K-Dock, adjacent to the sea lions, to answer your questions and share information about the California sea lions. These experts will remain at K-Dock throughout winter and beyond.