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AUSTRALIAN SEA LIONS and CARNAC ISLAND

The Australian Sea Lion is a ”Pinniped” most closely related to other species of sea lions and fur seals making up the family “Otariidae” These mammals use their flipper to propel themselves in the water and can also walk on land with their flippers. The Australian Sea Lion shares distinct features with other sea lions – these include short fur, short flippers and a bulky body.

They live on sand beaches and smooth rocks on offshore islands off the Australian coast between the Pages Islands in the south coast of South Australia to the Houtman Abdbrolhos Islands on the west coast of Australia. They are non-migratory mammals that live around their birthplace and rarely travel 300 kilometers from their birthplace. Their biographical range is the Indian and Pacific Ocean. It is believed that less than 15,000 Australian Sea Lions remain and this number is thought to be stable or slightly decreasing. The population is struggling due to their long and complicated breeding cycle, high site fidelity of females and high mortality.

Carnac Island has had an “A” class reserve status since 1963 and has been regarded as one of the deadliest Islands in the world due to its tiger snake population. The Australian Sea Lion is Carnac Islands most famous inhabitant. This species was once hunted to near extinction and is now among the rarest in the world. The Australian Sea Lion occupies only five haul-out sites off the Perth metropolitan coast. Carnac Island and Seal Island are the two most important as they are used by the greatest numbers of Sea Lions. It is thought that ‘hauling-out’ is essential for the recuperation of energy after long trips spent foraging up and down the WA coastline feeding on rays, fish octopus and crustaceans. These trips can be up to 24 hours long. One Sea Lion was recorded swimming from Rottnest Island to Busselton and back with out a break. Disturbance of Hauled-out Sea Lions can interrupt these crucial rest periods however Wild West Charters can take you close enough to see these animals with out disturbing them. More often than not these amazing animal can be found frolicking in shallow water on the beach and playful by nature will come right up to the vessel for a close encounter.

Although these guys appear friendly and docile, the male Sea Lion can weight up to 300 kilograms and supports a jaw frame that matches that of a bear. Deceivingly the, Sea Lions are highly mobile on and off the land and – if intimidated, can easily out run a person. They also carry the disease tuberculosis.

Wild West Charters is currently seeking permission to guide small groups of people onto the haul-out beach on Carnac Island with respect to the rules that apply to view these wild animal

We Will

  • Maintain a distance of at least 10 metres from any hauled-out animal on Carnac Island.
  • Will not get between the Sea Lions and the water.
  • Will not encircle the Sea Lions
  • Will not attempt to induce the Sea Lions into the water.
  • Will Supervise children at all times.
  • If approached by a Sea Lion in the water – move away or leave the water so as not to encourage interaction.

This is the best eco-experience you will get out of Perth City.

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