The Australian Sea Lion is a species that is the only endemic seal in Australia. Its extant breeding range extends from The Pages Islands (just east of Kangaroo Island) in South Australia to Houtman Abrolhos on the west coast of Western Australia.
They are one of the most endangered seals in the world. Entanglement in fishing nets, particularly shark nets, and crayfish pots is one of the main threats to the species.
Australian sea lion have a blunt, dog-like snout and small external earflaps. Males may reach about two metres long and weigh 300 kilograms. Their fur is chocolate brown, with a creamy crown and neck. Females are silvery grey above and creamy yellow below. They are smaller than males, growing up to 1.5 metres and weighing around 80 kilograms. This is the rarest sea lion in the world, and the only one found solely in Australia. It can dive to depths of 300 metres to capture fish, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, small sharks and rock lobsters. This species has an unusual 18-month breeding cycle. The sea lions around Perth are all males and breed on islands near Jurien (where the females and juveniles stay year round).
Australian sea lions are non-migratory , so they live and breed on sandy beaches near their birth site in relatively large colonies.Australian sea lions are non-migratory , so they live and breed on sandy beaches near their birth site in relatively large colonies. Females become sexually mature at 4-6 years, males at 8-9 years. Australian sea lions are known to live for up to 25 years. . The female nurses its pup for 15-18 months but some pups can be nursed for up to 23 months by the quarter of females who do not pup each breeding season. There is quite a high mortality of pups (40-50% in the first two years, 20% of the pup mortality in the first six months) at the breeding grounds due to aggression by both male and female adults. Pups begin diving before they are weaned. A strong bond is established between a female and her pup.
The Australian sea lion was listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in 2005 and is also listed as a threatened species.