South American Sealion

(Otaria flavescens)


South American Sealion IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Males can reach a lenght of 2.5 m and weight up to 300 kg. Females are considerably smaller than males, reaching a length of 2m and a weight of about 140 kg. Males have a massive neck and chest, and a characteristic upturned snout. Adults have a dark brown back and light brown chest. The manes on males are lighter than females, and female fur on the head and neck is lighter than that of males.

Did you know?
That the status of the specific name of the Southern sea lion is controversial? Currently two names are in use: Otaria flavescens (Shaw, 1800) and Otaria byronia (de Blainville, 1820). "Flavescens" was based on a two-foot-long yellowish otariid collected in the Strait of Magellan and "byronia" on a skull stated to have been collected on the Tinian Island (Marianas Archipelago)


Name (Scientific) Otaria flavescens
Name (English) South American Sealion
Name (French) Lion de mer d'Amérique du Sud
Name (German) Südamerikanischer Seelöwe
Name (Spanish) Léon marino sudamericano
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
Nestor Galina



Range Along the coasts and off-shore islands of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil, and in the Falkland Island.
Habitat The South American Sealions stay primarily near the coast, and it occurs less frequently in deeper waters. Found on rocky shores, sand, shingle or pebble shores.
Wild population Approx. 250.000 and stable (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 115 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

South American Sealion


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 76 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

South American Sea Lions are exhibited in zoos and aquariums because of their naturally inquisitive nature and their ability to playfully interact with other animals, humans and their surrounding environment. This connection allows the zoos and aquariums an excellent opportunity to educate their visitors about the role these animals play in the natural environment. Importantly, any animal presentations should convey a strong conservation message that benefits the entire species of sea lions.