Things have been a tad wet over our way,so I thought I’d repost some shots. I took these originally on 2016 October 10. The spot is Rankin rocks which is east of Tofino about 5 miles or so down Tofino inlet. Tranquil’s valley can be seen in the background.
There are two types of Sea Lions we get here,Californians and Stellar’s . Cali’s are around 1/2 ton while their bigger cousins the Stellar’s are twice as large at 1 ton. Cali’s are generally darker than the Stellar’s and of course smaller. Stellar’s always like to be King of the hill on any rocky haul outs. The Californians will be down lower close to the waters edge while the big Stellar boys rest further up.
For some strange reason this fellow was all by himself. Usually they hang out in groups,sunning away with their noses pointing to the sky.
This fellow and I spent some time together. I called him “Lippy” because his left lower lip is damaged. You can clearly see how there is a tear in the upper lip. I wondered why? At first I thought of a boats prop but decided that wasn’t the reason. Propellar wounds have symmetry and repeat in pattern. Than I thought of a Fish farms predator net!
I’ve seen these guys get stuck in those nets before. They breath air like you and I and If they become entangled in the netting they can drown. The Lions charge the salmon nets hoping to grab a unsuspecting salmon! They push against the heavy nets trying to corral a bunch of salmon. Of course they cannot pull the much larger fish through the net squares,so they suck the internal organs of the fish right through the net holes. The salmon than sinks to the bottom of the pen net.
DIvers go into each pen every three days or so to see If there are any dead salmon. When they bring up perfectly healthy salmon with no guts you know there was a predator attack and it was a Lion.
Surrounding the fish farm site is another much larger net called a “Predator Net”(pred net). It engulfs the entire site and is about 10 feet away from the inside fish nets. Its designed to stop Lion attacks but Lions are always trying to get at those tasty fish! Sometimes a Lion will push the pred net in quickly to get at the salmon but get snagged. It looks like thats exactly what happened here to”Lippy” but he was lucky enough to escape with only face wounding.