Steller sea lions are second in size among the seals and sea lions only to the northern and southern elephant seal, but they are the largest of the eared seals. These large sea lions once ranged as far south as the Channel Islands off the coast of southern California, and even once reproduced in rookeries on San Miguel Island. They are now largely restricted to waters off Alaska and Canada.
Males can reach nine feet in length and weigh 1500 pounds, while the smaller females reach lengths of six feet and weigh 600 pounds. They can become sexually mature between the ages of three and seven years, and males on average live 20 to 23 years, while the average for females is closer to 30 years. They feed opportunistically on a variety of fish species. Their natural predators include killer whales, sharks, and humans.
The photo was taken from a boat while the sea lions were hauled out on a small outcropping of rocks off the coast of Kodiak Island, Alaska near Zachar Bay in June. Since Steller sea lion females come ashore to give birth in May, it is possible the pups in the photo are not quite a month old.
The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 10D dSLR with a Canon EF 100-400 mm lens. The lens was zoomed to 235 mm and exposure settings were 1/750 sec at f/8 and ISO 400.