New Zealand sea lions
Image: Sabine Bernert ©


New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest seal species in the world and are only found in New Zealand.


Population: about 12,000
Conservation statusNationally Critical
Threat status: Population in decline
Found in: Otago and Southland regions of mainland New Zealand, although most New Zealand sea lions are now found in the subantarctic islands

Did you know:

  • They are likely the most threatened sea lion species due to their declining numbers and restricted breeding range.
  • Apart from the Australian sea lion (population estimated to be 10-15,000), all other sea lion species are in the hundreds of thousands.
  • They are generally quite confident around people and dogs so it is important to keep at least 10 m from them.

Watch a video about biodiversity ranger Jim Fyfe caring for sea lions pups on the Otago Peninsula.


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