Pinniped and Porpoise Day Program
Learn about harbor seals, sea lions, and harbor porpoises. Extra lucky days include dall's porpoise!
Guardians provides data on harbor porpoise and pinniped sightings to Pacific Mammal Research (PACMAM). This data directly contributes to PACMAM's long-term study that provides a better understanding of life history, behavior, social structure and ecology. It also helps the student participants build and cultivate a sense of stewardship, involvement and better understanding of the entire ecosystem in the Salish Sea.
Pinniped & Harbor Porpoise Survey
What is a pinniped?
Pinniped means fin or flipper-footed and refers to the marine mammals that have front and rear flippers.
There are three families of pinnipeds:
phocids "earless" (seals),
otariids "eared" (sea lions),
and odobenids (walruses).
The following pinnipeds can be observed in the Salish Sea:
Phoca vitulina - Harbor Seal
Eumetopias jubatus - Steller Sea Lion
Zalophus californianus - California Sea Lion
Mirounga angustirostris - Northern Elephant Seal
What is a harbor porpoise?
The smallest of 22 cetaceans recorded in the Salish Sea. They are also probably one of the few that are year round residents.
They weigh less than 100 kg (220 lbs) and are less than 2m (6 feet) long. Harbor porpoise will barely brush the water's surface as it comes up for air.
Photo courtesy of PACMAM