Star is a sea lion that lives in the north Pacific Ocean, off the coast of British Columbia. She returns to Triangle Island, her birthplace, after a long winter to find a mate. Nearly 5,000 sea lions travel to the island each year to find mates and give birth.
Star's Mate (02:43)
Star selects Brutus, a strong bull with a prime spot on the beach, as her mate. They conceive but male sea lions play no role in a pup's upbringing.
Star's Potential Pregnancy (03:19)
Within days of mating, a blastocyst in embryotic diapause forms inside Star. The process allows the pup to miss the winter and be born in the summer. Star hunts with a group in the water around Triangle Island to ensure she is healthy enough for the pregnancy.
Star in Alaska (03:04)
Star leaves the storm-ridden coast of Triangle Island and travels 600 miles north to Alaska. The inland channels have calm water despite the below freezing temperatures. Star's pregnancy with Luna has begun.
Star's Birth Preparations (03:50)
By the spring, Star is 28 weeks into a 34-week pregnancy. She has eaten enough for Luna to develop well. Sea lions rely on flippers and whiskers to hunt.
Luna's Birth (07:26)
Star returns to Triangle Island to give birth and searches for the right spot. Star's labor begins three days after she reaches the island and Luna is born. Luna weighs 35 pounds and instantly searches for milk.
Luna's First Swim (04:15)
At a week old, Luna enters the shallow water on the coast with Star. Star protects her from the dangers of the Pacific Ocean, like swells. It can take sea lion pups up to a year to master swimming.
Luna's First Alone Time (07:52)
Star and Luna have spent the first 10 days of Luna's life on land. Star leaves Luna alone on Triangle Island for the first time to go hunting. New mothers threaten Luna, but she soon finds other pups who have been left alone to play with.
Luna's Independence (02:21)
Luna has spent two days with the other pups. She practices hunting skills with kelp on the beach. She recognizes Star's roar and scent when she returns from hunting.
Luna's Exploration (07:57)
At eight weeks old, Luna can swim and begins exploring the shallow water around the island. She has not yet figured out how to fish. Orcas hunt in the water around Triangle Island, knowing pups are easy prey.
Luna's First Long Swim (04:02)
It is almost time for Star and Luna to leave Triangle Island for the winter foraging grounds in Alaska. It is Luna's first swim in deep water. Star stays beside Luna for the entire swim.
Credits: Episode 2: A Baby Sea Lion's Story (Growing Up Animal, Season 1) (00:31)
Credits: Episode 2: A Baby Sea Lion's Story (Growing Up Animal, Season 1)
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