sealion Sea Lions Take Researchers By Surprise: Adopt Orphaned Pups!


It seems that sea lions have once again pulled the wool over the eyes of researchers. We all know it’s a rough world, and no less is true of those poor orphaned sea lion pups. However, decades of painstaking research has proven that the sea lion females shun any sea lion pups which aren’t there own.. Or do they?

A new bit of genetic research of the populations of Californian sea lions, published this past Monday in the online journal PloS ONE, now sheds some new light on the subject, and states that sea lions are not as cold as they are made out to be.

Up to seventeen percent of the females in the California sea lions populations off of Mexico’s coast will actually take on an orphaned pup as one of their own offspring, according to the new research. What is even more amazing, is that the researchers were able to watch the females care for these pups year after year.
“Females are incredibly aggressive toward pups that aren’t theirs. They’ll bare teeth and bark, sometimes grab and toss pups that aren’t their own away,” explains a marine biologist at Arizona State University who made the discovery through an unrelated research effort, Ramona Flatz. “That they adopt at all really surprised us. We didn’t think it happened.”

So, while the chances are not that high that an orphaned pup can find an adoptive mother, the chance still exists, so like people, there are some decent sea lions out there…