Scientists are concerned about the status of seasonal litters of Steller sea lions in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, as well as the behavior of Kamchatka people feeding animals listed in the Red Book. This was stated at the last meeting of the working group on the improvement of the territories of seasonal lions of Steller sea lions, the park “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” reported.
According to Sergey KORNEV, candidate of biological sciences, KamchatnIRO, for the last 15 years, the status of the Steller sea lion population in places of bogs near the Mokhovaya bay remains unchanged – about 40 animals are permanently inhabited. And this is of concern to scientists. Because among this number there are no young animals, and, consequently, there is no natural increase.
“There are also factors that cause anxiety of the Red Book species. For example, people can contribute to the increased anxiety of marine mammals, as well as create a negative environmental situation. Some visitors to the pier do not respect the permissible distance, make noise, can afford to throw any objects in the animals. Left in the pier area, garbage bags emanating fish smells can become a “prey” to the sea lion and, as a result, cause a clogging of the stomach of the animal, – experts say. – Many people, through ignorance, bring frozen fish products as a treat to Steller’s sea lions. However, to do this categorically it is impossible – that there are no problems with digestion, the animal should eat fresh fish. Among the factors of concern, it is worth noting stray dogs, which flocks attack the Red Book animals, and also bear the deadly for the Steller sea lion carnivorous virus. ”
During the discussion, the members of the working group came to a common opinion that the works on organization of landscaping of the seasonal breeding grounds of Steller Sea lions within the boundaries of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky urban district should be continued. It is planned to equip the existing sites for seasonal growth, involve business representatives in solving the issues arising in the process, and conduct environmental education work among the population.
Specialists of the natural park “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” consider the work in this direction to be socially important. “We want residents and guests of the Kamchatka Territory to have the opportunity to come to the equipped places of the sea mammal hauls and observe the life of the sea lions, without disturbing their peace. Of course, great importance is ecological literacy. One should realize that any feeding of wild animals in their natural habitats can lead to harmful consequences. One should remember that any Red Book species are especially vulnerable, “says Natalia Rybnikova, a specialist in the Department of Environmental Education, Recreation and Monitoring of Kamchatka’s Volcanoes Nature Park. “Together we can unite and help preserve unique habitats within the boundaries of our city.”
Reportedly, the first meeting of the interdepartmental working group on the organization of landscaping of the Steller Sea lions in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was held the day before at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Kamchatka Territory. Issues related to monitoring the status of the seasonal grouping of Steller sea lions in their seasonal habitats in the water area of the Avachinskaya Bay and visual observation of the Red Sea mammals, the conduct of subbotniks and actions for cleaning water bodies and their shores, the improvement of the seasonal populations of sea lions and the placement of tourist infrastructure, The stand with the rules of conduct and the requirements of legislation in the field of environmental protection.
Steller sea lion (Steller’s sea lion) belongs to the order of the Pinnipeds (the family of Eared seals). The only species in the genus with a declining population over most of the range. Animals are on the list of endangered species and are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, the Red List of IUCN-96. In the world there are only three unique places, where huge sea lions live right in the city. Two of these cities are in the Russian Far East – in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Nevelsk on Sakhalin. The third is in San Francisco. For wintering in the area of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the Steller Sea lions have been chosen by the capes of Chavych and Signalny, as well as the old pier in the Mokhovaya microdistrict, which is one of the most visited among tourists and local residents. Huge beasts, weight of which reaches a ton, can be found on the baits from October to April.