(La Paz) Species endangered by global warming, sea lions have taken refuge in a bay in the Gulf of California, where their population delights tourists who do not bother them during mating.
The number of California sea lions, also known as “sea lions” (or “sea wolves” in Spanish), has increased from 500 to 700 people in ten years in the turquoise waters sanctuary of Los Isles, according to Hiram Rosales, a Baja researcher at the Sur State Autonomous University of California.
He told AFP that it was “the only colony whose population was stable and had grown slightly.”
Otherwise, according to the Scientific Studies and Education (CICESE) in Ensanda, the total population of “Zalophus californianus” (their learned name) decreased by 65% between 1991 and 2019, from 45,000 to 15,000 individuals.
What are the secrets of Los Isles Microclimate? Restrictions mainly on human activities (fishing and tourism).
Rosalie said because California sea lions have a place to rest and breed here.
Tour operators suspend their activities during intercourse.
Otherwise, visitors swim gray and ocher colored sea lions, with large mustaches, evenly on their backs and stomachs.
Tour operators depart from Ile Esperitu Santo, east of La Paz Bay, on a boat running along the rocky massifs in the area.
“It was a little scary, but I’m less and less scared, and it’s unbelievable,” Esmeralda Fonseca, an American tourist at AFP, shared her experience with a group of twenty-year-old friends.
When they reach puberty, unlike young people approaching tourists, seals protect their distance from visitors.
“They are interesting, playful and funny,” said Jacqueline Ojeda, a young travel guide.
With a little luck, tourists can also spot dolphins, killer whales and whales depending on the season.
“The population has grown. I think it’s good but we can do better. We need to show a little more responsibility and care,” adds Jacqueline, a young guide.
The archipelago has been part of the Flora and Funa Protection Area of the Gulf of California Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.