The NZ Sea Lion is thought to be the World's rarest sea lion with numbers around 10,000.
The New Zealand Sea Lion also known as Hooker’s Sea Lion, and Whakahao in Māori, is a species of sea lion that primarily breeds on New Zealand’s subantarctic Auckland and Campbell islands and to some extent around the lower South Island coast and Stewart Island.
One of NZ's biggest animals
New Zealand Sea Lions are rather large and one of New Zealand’s biggest animals. Adult males are 2.4 – 3.5 metres long and weigh 320–450 kgs, while adult females are more petite ranging from 1.80 – 2 metres long and weighing in at 90 – 165 kgs. Adult males are big boffheads and blackish-brown in colour with a well-developed black mane of coarse hair reaching the shoulders. Females are naturally prettier and their coats are more of a creamy caramel to grey colour with darker colour around the muzzle and flippers.
They aren't slow
Don’t be fooled by thinking that these are lazy lay-about beasts, they can get up into a gallop along the beach at a faster pace than you would expect and once in the ocean they morph into aquatic gymnasts with torpedo speed.
Their culinary favs
New Zealand Sea Lions are known to prey on a wide range of species including fish, squid, octopus, crustaceans, seabirds and other marine mammals, and even the odd NZ fur seal here and there. New Zealand sea lions are in turn preyed on by great white sharks (aka Jaws), which are also lurking through our waters.
Female sea lions are now and again found in the forest of Ulva Island where they have found a safe and cozy spot away from the mature males to birth their pups. The first ones being sighted often in December. At birth the pups are 70–100 cms long and weigh around 7–8 kgs.
Each summer we seem to be seeing more and more sealions on the beaches of Ulva Island and in Paterson inlet. This is a great sign so show their numbers are surely increasing.