Abundance and distribution of the eastern North Pacific Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) population


Pitcher, Kenneth W., Peter F. Olesiuk, Robin F. Brown, Mark S. Lowry,. Steven J. Jeffries, John L. Sease, Wayne L. Perryman, Charles E. Stinchcomb, Lloyd F. Lowry
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The eastern Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) population comprises animals that breed along the west coast of North America between California and southeastern Alaska. There are currently 13 major rookeries (>50 pups): five in southeastern Alaska, three in British Columbia, two in Oregon, and three in California. Overall abundance has increased at an average annual rate of 3.1% since the 1970s. These increases can largely be attributed to population recovery from predator-control kills and commercial harvests, and abundance is now probably as high as it has been in the last century. The number of rookeries has remained fairly constant (n=11 to 13) over the past 80 years, but there has been a northward shift in distribution of both rookeries and numbers of animals. Based on the number of pups counted in a population-wide survey in 2002, total pup production was estimated to be about 11,000 (82% in southeastern Alaska and British Columbia), representing a total population size as approximately 46,000−58,000 animals.