Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary provide habitat for breeding populations of four species of pinnipeds or seals and sea lions (California sea lions, northern fur seals, harbor seals, and northern elephant seals). At one time, two other species were found here in abundance--Steller, or northern, sea lions and Guadalupe fur seals. While Steller sea lions have not been seen since the 1980s, a few Guadalupe fur seals are occasionally sighted.
The Channel Islands are important to the survival of pinnipeds because most need protected undisturbed beaches to raise their young. Point Bennett is particularly important because it is centrally located, so close to rich feeding grounds for most of these species. Their biggest threats tend to be encounters with fishing gear, pollution, disease, and El Niño.
See below for information on the most common pinnipeds found around the Channel Islands. For more Information about each species please visit National Marine Mammal Laboratory.
Did You Know?
The endemic island deer mouse is the only native terrestrial mammal common to all the Channel Islands and is larger than mainland deer mice. Densities of deer mice on the islands can be greater than anywhere else in the world. This makes you happy if you're an owl, but not if you're a camper.