Those 2,000 sea lions who’d crammed the docks of Pier 39 are now basically zero sea lions at Pier 39. But don't worry for them, they’re just off getting laid.

The Pier 39 sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf have been all over the news these past couple months. At the end of April, the Pier 39 sea lion population was measured at a seven-year high, and very early in the season to be hitting such large numbers. Less than a week later, there were more than a thousand of them, which was the largest number of sea lions counted at Pier 39 in fifteen years. And by May 30, Pier 39 saw the all-time record of more than 2,000 sea lions.

But as of today, there are basically zero sea lions at Pier 39.

Image: Pier 39 Sea Lion Cam

You can confirm this with your own two eyes on the Pier 39 Sea Lion Cam (It’s the second video embed on the lower part of that web page). So why are the sea lions gone, and when did they leave?

Lots of sea lions. No sea lions
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“It was about two weeks ago,” Pier 39 harbormaster Sheila Chandor tells SFist. “It was over a 48-hour period. Once the really big guys started moving on, everyone else followed. Which is very normal and not unexpected.”

“They go south to the Channel Islands,” in Southern California, she explains. “It’s mating season, and those are the mating grounds. The urge is powerful this time of year.”

But don’t fret, sea lion lovers. The blubbery lovelies will likely be back at Pier 39 before you know it.

“It’s not been as predictable over the last few years as to when they return,” Chandor adds. “But it’s usually after July 4 and before the end of August. So somewhere in between there they start filtering back.”

But the sea lions will only return in a trickle, and are not expected to be back in full numbers again, per Chandor, until the “end of August or early fall.”

And the sea lions are not actually all gone.

“When I came into work this morning, there were about ten on the end of one of the floats really far out,” she says. “And it was kind of cute, because there was one big guy, and then a lot of little guys around him. They were all kind of huddled.”

So the disappearance of the sea lions, as every year, is temporary. But for the next few weeks or months, Fisherman’s Wharf will be a lot less loud, and a lot less stinky.  

Related: An Ode to 30 Years of Pier 39's Sea Lions [SFist]

Image: Pier 39 Sea Lion Cam