Mammals

PL-HASE-Ingrid Taylar
  • Sea Otter

    List-SEOT-NOAA

    Sea otters were once hunted for their thick, warm fur and by the early 1900’s the population in Washington had been wiped out. Sea otters were relocated from Alaska to the waters off of Washington’s coast in 1969-70 and the population has since been steadily growing. The Refuge provides important habitat for most of Washington's sea otters. They particularly utilize large kelp beds where they hunt for sea urchins, clams, and mussels to fuel their voracious appetites. The greatest threats to the local sea otter population are potential oil spills and competition from shellfish harvesting. Generally, sea otters are not easily seen from shore, but persistent viewers occasionally spot them off of Cape Flattery. 

  • Harbor Seal

    List-HASE-Lambert

    Harbor seals are easily seen bobbing in the waters off the coast of Washington. They can be identified by their smooth spotted skin varying in color from gray to brown or even black. The rocks, reefs and, islands of the Refuge are important spots for seals to haul-out of the water and rest or give birth to pups. One of the greatest threats to the harbor seal population is human disturbance, particularly during pupping season. Seal pups resting on shore should always be left alone as their mothers are likely waiting off shore and will not return until threats, such as humans, are clear of the area.
     

  • California Sea Lion

    List-CA Sea Lion-NOAA

    Sea lions are differentiated from seals by their visible ears. The California sea lion range color from males who are a dark chocolate brown to lighter golden brown females. Males are quite large and can tip the scales at 850 pounds. Primarily it is the males who wander as far north as the Washington Islands where they hunt for food and use the islands as haul-out spots to rest.