Sea Lions


  • Status
  • Scientific Name
    Zalophus wollebaeki
  • Weight
    around 400 pounds
  • Length
    6 feet long
  • Habitats

Sea lions haul out in large colonies on rocks and sandy shores on the Islands. They move into the water to feed and cool off as needed.

A sea lion pup that's ready to play

A photograph experiences a chance encounter with a sea lion in Baja California, Mexico.
Sea lion with feather playing in fish school

Why They Matter

  • The sea lion is the most common mammal in the Galápagos.


  • Extinction Risk Endangered
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Sea Lion

Introduced species, such as dogs, carry diseases that can spread to sea lions. They are vulnerable to the effects of climate change on ocean currents, which impacts their fish prey abundance. They are also victims of bycatch in fisheries.

What WWF Is Doing

Sea Lion

Sea lions often rest aboard fishing boats, sometimes causing the boats to sink. Fishermen try to prevent them from coming aboard by putting up barbwire as a barrier, but this causes severe injuries to the sea lions. WWF helped support a project on San Cristóbal Island that built and installed two floating bases for sea lions to rest on and a “primary care nursery” for sea lions and other species. Environmental education and communication awareness sessions were offered about the importance of sea lions and the problems with their interaction with the local community. Currently, sea lions are using the floating bases more often and we expect less sea lion injuries and fewer troubles for the boat owners on the island.

Related Species