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ZILLIONS of Sea Lions at Pier 39

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 at 2:04 pm in Family Outings.

SEA LIONS PIER 39 (AP File Photo by Jeff Chiu)
Staggering numbers of California sea lions – a record-breaking 1,585 of them – are suddenly calling Pier 39’s West Marina home. So many, in fact, that the harbor master is planning to install more sea lion floats by the K-Dock. “Usually during this time of the year,” says harbor master Sheila Chandor, “we typically have only a few smaller sea lions on the docks, as the larger males head south to mate.”

No one knows why the numbers are up so much. We wanted to blame the economy – perhaps real estate foreclosures are affecting sea lion condos too – but Marine Mammal Center director Jeff Boehm says a shift in food source availability is likely at work. “The current run of anchovies has a lot of them hanging out in some areas in greater numbers than we’ve grown used to,” he says.

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