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Sea Lion Interrupts UCLA Rowing Practice with Cuddles – Turned Out It Needed Help

sea lion interrupts rowing practice
Image by KING 5 Seattle via YouTube

Their rowing practice began like any other practice – but ended up being interrupted by cuddles from a passing sea lion. Although cuddles are never a bad thing, the team did find its fearlessness a little suspicious, a suspicion that was confirmed by local wildlife rescue.

A Surprise Guest at Practice

sea lion interrupts rowing practice
Image by KING 5 Seattle via YouTube

During a routine morning practice, the UCLA rowing team encountered an unexpected visitor. A young sea lion hopped aboard their boat, seeking not only a resting spot but also human interaction. This unusual interruption quickly turned into a moment of compassion and curiosity.

From Cuddles to Concern

sea lion interrupts rowing practice
Image by Star City News via YouTube

What seemed like playful cuddles from the sea lion was a sign of distress. The coaches and team members noticed the animal’s malnourished condition and lethargic behavior, raising immediate concerns about its health and well-being.

The Rescue Operation

sea lion interrupts rowing practice
Image by Star City News via YouTube

Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, the rowing team quickly contacted local wildlife rescue authorities. The response was swift, ensuring the sea lion received the necessary care it desperately needed.

Sea Lions in Urban Waters

sea lion interrupts rowing practice
Image by KING 5 Seattle via YouTube

The presence of a sea lion so far inland is unusual and indicative of broader environmental issues. This incident highlights the increasing encounters between marine life and urban areas, prompting discussions about human impact on wildlife habitats.

Understanding Sea Lion Behavior

sea lion
California sea lion this female was hauled out and sunning itself just south of that location. Image via Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sea lions are known for their intelligence and playful nature, which can sometimes lead them into human-occupied areas. Understanding their behavior is crucial for managing interactions and ensuring the safety of both the animals and people.

The Health Risks They Face

Californian sea lions
Californian sea lions hunt in large groups. Image via David Merrett from Daventry, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Marine animals like sea lions face numerous health risks, including malnutrition, which is often caused by environmental changes that affect their food sources. This incident serves as a sad but important reminder of the fragility of marine ecosystems.

Is Climate Change to Blame Once Again?

Sea Lion
Lone sea lion walking on the beach. Image by Patrick Duvanel on Unsplash

Climate change impacts sea lion populations by altering their habitats and the availability of their prey. Therefore, climate change is responsible for this incident both for causing the sea lion’s malnutrition but also for altering its normal habitat, leading it to swim a far way from home.

The Psychological Effects of Animal Rescue

sea lion
Image by NOAA via Unsplash

Rescuing animals like the sea lion not only benefits the creatures themselves but also has a positive psychological impact on the rescuers and the community, enhancing feelings of empathy and responsibility towards nature.

Masters of Underwater Hearing

sea lion
Image by Ralph via Pixabay

Sea lions have incredibly sensitive hearing underwater, which is far superior to their hearing on land. They can detect frequencies as high as 40,000 Hz, helping them navigate and hunt in murky ocean waters.

No Need for Drinking Water

Sea Lion Rips the Head off a Seagull
Image by Craig Adderley via Pexels

Surprisingly, sea lions do not need to drink water; they obtain all the hydration they need from their food. This adaptation is crucial for their survival in the wild, where fresh water is scarce.

Whiskers with Superpowers

Image by Silas Baisch via Unsplash

The whiskers of a sea lion, known as vibrissae, are highly sensitive and can detect minute changes in water currents. This helps them track down fish and navigate in complete darkness.

Sea Lions Can “Walk” on Land

sea lion
Image by Foto-Rabe via Pixabay

Unlike true seals, sea lions have external ear flaps and large flippers that they can rotate under their bodies to walk on land. This ability makes them more versatile, allowing them to explore and rest on rocky shores.

Unique Vocal Talents

sea lion
Image by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Each sea lion has a unique voice, which they use to communicate and maintain social bonds. They are known for their loud barking, which can be heard over long distances, especially in crowded colonies.

Dive Champions of the Pinniped World

Sea Lion colony close to the sea shore. Image by Joss Woodhead on Unsplash

Sea lions are among the deepest diving of all pinnipeds, with some species capable of diving deeper than 900 feet in search of food. They can also hold their breath for nearly 10 minutes during these dives.

Surprisingly Fast Swimmers

sea lion
Image via Pixabay

Despite their bulky appearance, sea lions are agile and fast swimmers, capable of reaching speeds up to 25 miles per hour. This speed helps them escape predators and catch quick-moving prey.

Dynamic Sleeping Habits

Image via Unsplash

Sea lions can sleep both on land and in the water. When sleeping in the water, they often float on the surface like a cork, which is sometimes referred to as “bottling.”

Long-Distance Migrators

Image by Steve Adams via Unsplash

Certain sea lion species are known to travel vast distances for food or breeding. Some have been recorded migrating over 1,000 miles from their home territories.

Unexpectedly Playful

Image via Unsplash

Sea lions are known for their playful nature, often seen playing with seaweed, chasing each other, or even interacting with humans. Their playful behavior is not just for fun; it also helps young sea lions develop the skills they need for survival.

Global Conservation Efforts

Image by Ljubomir Zarkovic via Unsplash

Global efforts to protect marine life involve international treaties and collaborations, emphasizing the need for a unified approach to tackle issues like climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Reflecting on Our Impact

Image by Francesco Ungaro via Unsplash

Reflecting on how human activities influence marine life is crucial for making positive changes. This story encourages individuals to consider sustainable practices that support marine health and overall biodiversity.

Sea Lion Interrupts Rowing Practice: Conclusion

Image via Unsplash

Hopefully, you’ve been reminded of just how adorable sea lions are – which, in turn, hopefully leads to more conservation efforts for these cute puppies of the sea. While the UCLA rowing team appreciated the cuddle from a sea lion, the reason causing it to seek attention isn’t cute at all. Malnutrition is a rising issue for many marine animals and needs to be taken seriously.

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