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Monday, February 8, 2010

Galapagos Sea Lions set up colony in Peru

A COLONY of sea lions endemic to the Galápagos Islands have established a colony off the coast of northern Peru as a result of increased sea surface temperature.

The Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals, found the colony, including 30 sea lions, had travelled 932 miles (1,500km), from Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands to the Foca Island, off the coast of Peru’s Piura district.

Orca president, Carlos Yaipén, said the colony was the first reported outside the Galápagos archipelago and due to an increase in sea temperature.

He said: "Individual sea lions have been reported stranded in Ecuador and Colombia, here as well, but never a colony. This is due to their adaptation to climate change. The conditions of the sea around Piura are now similar to the Galápagos.”

Researchers say surface sea temperature around off the coast of Piura has increased over the last ten years from an average of 17C to 23C. Sea temperature around the Galápagos Islands averages 25C.

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