Friday, May 14, 2010

Sea Lions of Pier 39 Are Back and Postponed 20th Anniversary Party to be Held in Their Honour

They're back! The missing sea lions of Pier 39 have been returning to their floats over the last four weeks, and in their honour a postponed 20th anniversary party is to be held next Friday.

From pups to the big and bulbous, somnabulent, and the comical 'don't mind me!' clumsy clamberers, the beloved barking residents of K-dock are back delighting the public.

'We're so happy, it's great to have our sea lions back. We always knew they'd come back!' said Sue Muzzin, Director of Public Relations & Advertising.

The sea lions have been returning in higher numbers over the last four weeks. 'We've probably seen about 150 to 300,' Sue said today. Details of the planned party are to be released soon.

The famous California sea lions are a major tourist attraction and have been bringing prosperity to Pier 39 for 20 years.

Their numbers had risen to record highs of 1,585 in September, and 1,701 in October. And then, just as suddenly, they vanished almost overnight, their numbers dwindling to a handful.

Their migration was thought to be due to food supplies, their increase because of anchovies and their disappearance a result of a low herring  supply in the bay this winter. Many of the sea lions swum north to the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon.

Their return is thought also to be linked to food sources.

A party in January to mark the 20th anniversary of their arrival was mostly postponed. Instead of the planned celebration, a much smaller event was held. Docents from the Marine Mammal Center met with the public at the pier to talk about the sea lions.

The animals started to congregate there in January 1990, just weeks after the October, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake. There were between 10 - 50 at first, but by March of that year numbers had risen to over 300.

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