Rehabilitation and post-release monitoring of Steller sea lion pups raised in captivity

  • Published source details Lander M.E. & Gulland F.M.D. (2003) Rehabilitation and post-release monitoring of Steller sea lion pups raised in captivity. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 31, 1047-1053.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Hand-rear orphaned or abandoned marine and freshwater mammal young

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Hand-rear orphaned or abandoned marine and freshwater mammal young

    A replicated, controlled study in 1995–1996 and 1999–2000 at two islands in the North Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California, USA (Lander et al. 2003) found that three Steller sea lion Eumetopias juba pups reared in captivity and released back into the wild survived for at least 1–3 months and had similar diving behaviour to wild sea lions. The three captive-reared sea lion pups were successfully tracked for 1–3 months after release back into the wild. All three pups dived to similar average depths (18–30 m) and for similar average durations (0.9–1.6 minutes) compared to 25 wild juvenile Steller sea lions (depth: 18 m; duration: 1.1 minutes) although statistical significance was not assessed. Three Steller sea lion pups (aged 2 weeks old) found stranded, dehydrated and underweight were taken to a rehabilitation facility in June 1995 (two males) and June 1999 (one female). The pups were fed formula and weaned onto fish at 3 months old. After 10 months in captivity, the pups were tagged and fitted with satellite time-depth recorders and released at sea near two islands in April 1996 (two sea lions) and April 2000 (one sea lion). Each of three sea lions was tracked for 1–3 months after release in 1996 and 2000. Data for the 25 wild sea lions were from a previous study.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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