Rare Sea Lions Are Back and Crashing Sports Games
After their populations were decimated by hunters, New Zealand’s sea lions are returning to the coasts – sometimes surprising locals by turning up in unexpected places, Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for The New York Times.
They have surprised the users of public toilets by their sudden appearances and stopped a children’s soccer match by ambling onto the field. One even gave birth near the 13th hole of a golf course, Graham-McLay writes.
In recent decades the animals – which are one of the world’s rarest sea lion species – began, slowly and unexpectedly, to return to New Zealand’s mainland.
A study recently published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution suggests a new way to do that – combining algorithmic modelling that predicts where species will settle with on-the-ground information from those who regularly encounter the wildlife.
“One way it will help is the public awareness and engagement and knowing which communities to target as the population expands,” said Laura Boren, a science adviser for the Department of Conservation. “We can get people ready for sea lions coming to their town.”
Original article by Charlotte Graham-McLay, The New York Times, November 9, 2021.
Photo by Craig McKenzie.