The Cutest Predator

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When we think of predators, our minds often picture large animals with sharp teeth and scary faces, animals that have evolved just to kill humans. Our collective memory makes us fearful of the night, and almost everyone has been startled by unknown noises in a dark forest.

This fear has been engraved in our collective unconscious like carvings in a rock. When it comes to the ocean, many people still fear sharks (despite repeated evidence that sharks are the ones who should be scared of us) or deep alien creatures that hide in the darkness to attack unexpectedly.

The top predator at the Desventuradas is not the typical reef shark, or a grouper with a huge mouth able to swallow a diver. It is not a fearsome animal that kills at night either. The largest predator here is the Juan Fernández (), the cutest carnivore we have found in any of our Pristine Seas Expeditions to date. They spend much of the day hanging out on rocky platforms near the water. When we approach them, it’s like someone brought free candy to a school. The sea lions raise their heads, get indeed very excited, and drag their fat bellies from rock to rock until they jump in the water.

On February 8, Oceana and National Geographic launched an expedition to explore the waters off of the remote Desventuradas Islands more than 500 miles off the coast of . By documenting marine life and habitat the team hopes to persuade the Chilean government to protect more than 60,000 miles surroundinig this archipelago. Below is an expedition journal entry from Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

The Juan Fernández sea lion is the cutest carnivore we have found in any of our Pristine Expeditions to date. (Photo by Enric Sala)

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Read full article on Oceana.org.

Supertrooper

Supertrooper

Founder and Executive Editor

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Craig Cudworth
Craig Cudworth

I hope that Chile award the Islands the status they deserve.