How are Steller Sea Lions doing?
The Steller or northern sea lion was listed as threatened throughout its range on December 4, 1990. Steller sea lion population west of 144 degrees wes t longitude was declared endangered as of June 1997. The centers of abundance and distribution are the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands, respectively. Rookeries (breeding colonies) are found from the central Kuril Islands to Ano Nuevo Island, California; most large rookeries are in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. More than 50 Steller sea lion rookeries and a greater number of haulout sites have been identified. Species abundance estimates during the late 1970s ranged from 248,000 to 300,000 adult and juvenile animals. However, counts at rookeries and haulout sites throughout most of Alaska and the USSR in 1989, plus estimates from surveys conducted in recent years at locations not counted in 1989, provide a range-wide Steller sea lion population estimate of about 116,000. In 1994, an estimated 67,100 occurred in U.S. waters.