The first Australian sea lion pup of the season arrived at Seal Bay, fittingly on Mother's Day.
Department of Environment staff on Kangaroo Island named the newborn pup "Remi", a welcome addition to the precious population.
Remi's birth signals the start of the winter breeding season for the endangered marine mammal.
Every birth bolster numbers of one of the world's most endangered pinnipeds, including sea lions, seals and walruses.
The Australian sea lion population has been in decline over the past few decades, but analysis of the last two Seal Bay breeding seasons has shown an increase in pups.
Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, Dr Susan Close said the birth was a wonderful sign that numbers of these magnificent animals might be starting to recover after a decade of decline.
"The first month of survival is critical for these pups and I really hope, for the sake of the species, they can flourish over the next few weeks," Dr Close said.
"By spring, most of the pups will have been born and they will start exploring more of their colony and the ocean which is great news for people wanting to visit KI and see one of the oceans most adorable creatures."
Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island is the world's third largest colony of Australian sea lions, with an estimated population of 800.
South Australia is home to an estimated 85 per cent of the world's 12,000 Australian sea lions, many of which breed on the offshore islands dotted around the state's coastline.
The newborn pups will spend their first months in the safety of the sand dunes, tea trees and rocky caves behind the beach.
Female Australian sea lions invest 15 to 18 months nursing their pups, usually until the next pup is born, and those that do not pup consecutively each season may spend up to 40 months nursing their now juvenile pups.
In December 2020, the Australian sea lion was up-listed from vulnerable to endangered under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Visitors to Seal Bay can pre-book guided tours online. For private tour enquiries please contact the site at www.parks.sa.gov.au/experiences/seal-bay
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