A Blind Sea Lion!

I have enormous respect for pinnipeds. They are intelligent, resourceful and social animals and they are incredibly hardy. In my time here I have seen all manner of wounds and entanglements, but I never imagined a sea lion could survive in the wild while being totally blind. I first noticed this individual because it has a particularly reddish pelage, and it’s mannerisms appeared a bit different. I took a few pictures, but it was only when the other sea lions saw me and scattered that I noticed how different this fellow is.

This small Steller Sea Lion is completely blind.

Sea Lions appear to recognize injuries and fitness levels in one another. Absent in the interactions with compromised individuals are the threat displays and ritualized aggression of the bulls, replaced with what appears to be a kind of curiosity and concern (these may not be appropriate scientific terms). That said, since sea lions (and all higher order animals) have emotions, and as altruism has been observed in many many species, I don’t think it unreasonable to conclude that the words “curiosity and concern” aren’t too far off the mark.

A Unique Sea Lion

Whatever the case let us keep our fingers crossed for the well-being of this amazing and resourceful individual that has managed to survive in spite of extraordinary odds against it!