Cetacean Society International

Working for whales, dolphins and porpoises worldwide

CSI Photo Gallery

California Sea Lion

(Zalophus californianus)

This California sea lion's bristles may help him to find food in the dark coastal depths. His flexible body and powerful swimming make him a master of underwater acrobatics. An adaptable opportunist, the sea lion may chose to live in harbors, even sunning on boats, because that's where the food is.
"Hauling out" on land is an important activity for sea lions. They rest, sun, and socialize on coastal rocks and harbor breakwaters like this. Like all pinnipeds, they return to traditional haul out locations to mate, give birth and raise their pups.

Northern Elephant Seal

(Mirounga angustirostris)

These immature Northern elephant seals will soon leave the beach where hundreds congregate to breed, to travel thousands of miles and dive over a thousand feet deep day after day in search of food. Satellite tags have allowed scientists to record remarkable journeys and dives. The data suggest that some elephant seals have slept hundreds of feet down in the black depths, and may often feed in the "oxygen depletion zone".

Harbor Seal

(Phoca vitulina)

The harbor seal is found on both U.S. coasts. They don't accommodate as well as sea lions do to human activities, which makes them more vulnerable to being forced inadvertently away from prime habitats. At one haul out in Maine nursing mothers repeatedly abandoned their young when human kayakers appeared, perhaps because the shape seemed like killer whales.

Sea Otter and Harbor Seal

(Enhydra lutris and Phoca vitulina)

The California kelp beds and rocky coast are more than beautiful. They provide superb habitats for marine life, including the harbor seals and sea otters here. Can you see them?