Pier 39 Sea Lions May Have a New Home

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 PM PDT
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Pier 39 Sea Lions May Have a New Home

The sea lions hit the water.

More than 1,500 sea lions that abruptly disappeared from San Francisco's Pier 39 may have gone 500 miles north to the central Oregon coast.

Officials with Sea Lion Caves, a private preserve near Florence, Ore., said huge pods of the animals -- now numbering about 2,000 -- began showing up in October, about the same time they started leaving Pier 39.

Kim Suryan, a biologist with the Marine Mammal Institute in Newport, Ore., said the numbers are much higher than usual.

About 1,700 sea lions were counted at Francisco's Pier 39 in October before they began leaving in droves after Thanksgiving.

Experts said it's strange for so many animals to be at the pier in the first place and then leave so suddenly.

They said the sea lions may have gone north for colder waters and food and could eventually return.

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