These Sea Lions, known also by the name of Hooker's Sea Lions, are a protected species in New Zealand and have been since the 1890s. At one point, on the Chatham Islands, these marine mammals actually became extinct as they were hunted relentlessly for their meat and parts by the Moriori people.
Their numbers did get up to about 15,000 in the mid-1990s, but there was an outbreak of disease in 1998 that killed off about 20 percent of the adult females and about 50 percent of the pups born during that time so their numbers declined a lot. There are now expected to be about 13,000 in the wild around the islands of New Zealand.
The squid fisherman around this area are allowed to catch up to 124 during the fishing season, but no more, as these sea lions are not considered to be an endangered species.
Sea Lions do spend most of their time lying around and relaxing in the sun together and these two are clearly enjoying their time together on this glorious sunny day.
New Zealand Sea Lions (also known as Hooker's Sea Lions), Phocarctos hookeri, along the beach at Waipapa Point in the Catlins along the Catlin's Highway, Southern Scenic Route, Southland, South Island, East Coast, New Zealand.
I photographed this photo with the digital SLR camera model Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, aperture of f/6.3, exposure time of 1/250 sec. on ISO 100, as always I used a original Canon Lens, the focus lenght for this picture was 285mm.
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