Back Orders: Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
My father-in-law, Steve, requested a sea lion, and I selected the Steller for him. These big sea lions (males get to about 11 feet long and weigh around 2,500 pounds) live in the northern Pacific Rim from Japan up and around to Alaska and down to northern California. They are divided into two populations, western and eastern, with the eastern stock comprising, basically, those in Canada and the lower 48 (well, lower 3 in this case) and the western living in Alaska and Asia.
The western stock of Steller sea lions declined quite dramatically—by 75 percent—between 1975 and 1990, and nobody knows exactly why. In fact, the western sea lions are still diminishing in number. Theories include disease, climate change, and the decline of the fish that they eat due to industrial fishing. Under the federal Endangered Species Act, the western stock is listed as endangered and the eastern as threatened. (The endangered status indicates that a species is in imminent danger of becoming extinct; threatened means that the species is on track to become endangered in the future.)