With the ever-dwindling numbers of species that are depicted each year on various endangered and threatened species lists, it has come as great news that at least one species has had a surge in population.
The Steller sea lions, found along the coast of Alaska and on to northern California, have just been taken off of the threatened species list. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this wondrous news today, stating that the growth in population of the sea lions has led them to no longer needing that designation on the list.
Sadly, this is the first time in 19 years that an animal has been taken off of the threatened species list. For this reason, marine biologists and animal enthusiasts are celebrating the news as it is a major milestone in the fight for the recovery of species worldwide.
The NOAA stated that the Steller sea lion population has increased by over 50,000 since 1979, bringing it to a record number of 70,000 sea lions in that region. The incredible increase in sea lions came about after heavy restrictions were put in place that targeted fishermen in that area who would kill the sea lions so that they wouldn’t have to compete with them for fish. The NOAA assured the public that this type of protection would still be enforced by the Marine Mammal Protection Act even though the sea lions were removed from the threatened species list.
Additionally, the NOAA stated that they would closely monitor the sea lions for the next decade so that they would be able to ensure their successful rehabilitation.