Sea Lion Predators
Natural Predators of Sea Lions
Sea Lions have three main predators to be careful of. They include Killer Whales, Sharks, and humans. Of course humans pose the biggest threat to them both in the water and on land than these other types of predators. While we don’t know too much about the interactions with Sea Lions and Killer Whales or Sharks, we definitely know plenty about their interactions with humans.
Many researchers believe that the Sea Lion can easily swim faster than Killer Whales and Sharks. However, it is often the element of surprise that results in them being prey for these predators. Also, the very young or those that are sick won’t be able to move as fast so they are easier for these predators to capture.
Sea Lions can often sense when Killer Whales or Sharks are close by. Their biggest defense to this is to get to the edge of the water and onto land. Sometimes these predators can jump up and still capture them though if they don’t move far enough away from the edge of the water.
Many people assume that since the number of Killer Whales and Sharks has dropped that they are less likely to consume Sea Lions. However, this isn’t the fact of the matter. What has happened is that many of the natural food sources for these predators have dwindles in their natural habitat. Therefore they are looking for anything they can consume to survive on and that will include Sea Lions.
The other problem is that humans have driven the Killer Whales and Sharks from their natural habitats. Due to them being in the same areas and pollution of the waters they often have to move from where they once lived in order to survive. In some regions this has lead them to areas where there are quite a few Sea Lions. As a result they are consuming more of them than they ever did.
Even so, there is no denying that man has always been the biggest predator of the Sea Lion. There are early records of them being hunted as a source of food. At that time though only what was needed was hunted. Other elements of the Sea Lion were used as well. For example the blubber for oil, the skin, bones to make tools and weapons, and even the whiskers as pipe cleaners.
As the abilities of the hunters became more advanced though Sea Lions were killed in larger numbers. This was often for the thrill of such a hunt or to prevent them from consuming the fish in the water that humans wanted to eat themselves. The fact that Sea Lions can also damage fishing nets didn’t make them very happy either.
As the technology continued to advance for humans, Sea Lions were killed in huge numbers until they became drastically low. By this time both conservation groups and government entities had stepped in to help protect them. In some parts of the work it is absolutely illegal to harm or kill a Sea Lion. In other areas though it still takes place and protecting them hasn’t been made a priority.
It is important for us to learn a huge lesson here. The world is a matter of balance and that includes both humans and animals. We have the responsibility to make sure we aren’t upsetting that balance. Too many humans only focus on their wants and needs. Yet in the end the destruction of Sea Lions and other animals is going to hurt us much more than it helps us.
That is why so many conservation groups continue to offer education materials relating to this. They hope that adults can be persuaded to look at the situation differently. They also want children to grow up having the right information so that they will be more likely to make decisions that are going to benefit both humans and animals.