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'Sea Lions - Life by a Whisker' introduces us not only to the fascinating marine mammals in its namesake but also to the extremely important people who dedicate their lives to conserving a species.

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Baby Otto is an Australian sea lion pup and a member of the Whiskers family who live where the Australian desert meets the Great Southern Ocean in South Australia.


Otto is the star of ‘Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker’. A story that follows her growing up from a little pup and learning all the right lessons to get her ready to take on the world. 


The film explores the trials faced by sea lions at home in Australia and all the way to San Francisco in the USA. We meet the individuals who have dedicated their lives to watching over Otto and sea lions around the world.


Watch her story as little Otto and her sea lion friends face the challenges of the ocean with a little help from hardworking conservationists on land and across the ocean.

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"It’s my hope that individually and collectively we start to value the environment more. If we take the time to go and visit the ocean, or a beach, then people can start to be more aware of how connected we are to the environment, and how our everyday choices effect our marine environment, and the creatures that live in it. A healthy ocean is not just good for the sea lions, it’s good for us."

The Australian Sea Lion population has never recovered from the impact of the commercial sealing that occurred mainly in the 19th century. They are now one of the most endangered marine mammals on the planet and are at risk of extinction within our lifetime. Marine Park Ranger Dirk Holman is determined to stop that from becoming our reality.


Working with the Department of Environment and Water in South Australia in collaboration with the University of Adelaide and SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Dirk and his colleagues have been at the forefront of a ground breaking scientific study into the threats facing the Australian Sea Lion. By using photogrammetry acquired with drones to digitally reconstruct 3D models of each animal, scientists are able to assess body mass and build an accurate picture of individual animal and overall colony heath in a non-invasive way.


With time running out, the sea lions’ survival depends on informed management. Providing accurate data to management agencies, and the people who are making the decisions on what actions need to be taken to protect these animals is the most effective way Dirk and his team can help make a difference to Sea Lion populations.


Australian Sea Lions are facing an uncertain future and face a myriad of threats, the largest being fisheries bycatch, predominantly from the demersal gillnet and rock lobster fisheries as well as entanglement in marine debris. With other pressures including habitat degradation, prey depletion, interactions with aquaculture operations, pollution, oil spills and climate change are all inhibiting the recovery of the species.

Dirk Holman
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Read all about Life by a Whisker

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See what we got up to on location



Download our lesson plans



You can help save our oceans too

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