Dr. Frances Robertson, Coordinator of the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), takes a boat trip to the swift waters near the mouth of Cattle Pass, where she finds a large group of Steller sea lions hauled out on Whale Rocks.

As Dr. Robertson explains, Steller sea lions are the largest member of the eared seal family. These gregarious pinnipeds need undisturbed, rocky shoreline habitat where they can rest, socialize, molt, and escape predators, such as transient orcas.

Donated to the Preservation Trust in 1992, Whale Rocks are among a unique collection of rocky islets near the southwest end of Lopez Island. The islets provide strategically located habitat not only for sea lions, but also for other marine mammals and a variety of seabirds.

Disruptions to wildlife caused by tour boats making close approaches to the rocks led SJPT, working with the MRC, to establish a voluntary 200-yard no-entry buffer zone in 2005. So let’s respect the sea lions and other wildlife by enjoying their presence from afar!

Click here to learn more about Whale Rocks

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