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Why do they come back?

Lobo marino

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Undoubtedly, the main goal in an animal’s life, after obtaining food, is not to become one. Every animal on Earth knows its predators perfectly well and learns to stay prudently away from them.

Thus, sea lions are familiar with and fear orcas and sharks. They anticipate their movements and execute strategies to distance themselves from their jaws. Sometimes parents teach their offspring not to venture into the sea at certain times of the day. Other times, genetic information plays an important role in transmitting sensations like the “scent of danger” from generation to generation. It’s the game of life: the mouse escapes the cat, a fundamental principle.

But sea lions have been hunted for centuries. Humans have pursued them to the farthest breeding beaches, bludgeoned them to take their fur, brutally killed their young for soft pelts, left their bodies exposed to the sun, and departed, leaving a bitter stain of blood behind.

Our historical relationship with sea lions is aberrant; we were the cruelest and most unscrupulous predator they had to deal with. Everything would indicate that, in the presence of humans alone, sea lions should flee and hide. But this is not the case. Today, many years after the start of the slaughter, sea lions continue to approach us.

When a diver submerges near a place inhabited by sea lions, they eagerly come to meet them. Not only do they approach, but they allow themselves to be caressed. Perhaps the most incredible aspect of this animal behavior is that mothers allow divers to have direct contact with their young pups, a situation that even domesticated animals sometimes avoid.

The big question is: why? Sea lions have shown good memory with their other predators, so why don’t they react the same way to us? Can sea lions understand when they are going to be harmed and when they are not? In some way, do they realize that not all humans are the same? There are no answers to these questions, and perhaps it is this lack of answers that makes this world so fascinating. Perhaps the simplest answer is that sea lions are giving us another chance.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”