SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco’s Pier 39 sea lions celebrate what the locals consider to be their anniversary this month and it’s hard to imagine they have been barking along the waterfront for more than two decades.

That telltale barking has become legendary along the waterfront, attracting people from near and far to watch, listen, snap pictures and even take sea lion tours for 23 years.

“Coincidentally, we don’t really know if there’s a connection or not, it was shortly after the 1989 earthquake that sea lions that used to be out at sea or down by the Cliff House all of a sudden we noticed they weren’t there any more and a number of them showed up here,” a woman named Pat explained to tourists who had gathered for a tour.

“Most of the sea lions that hang out here at Pier 39 are going to be males,” Pat told her audience. “The females pretty much are down in the Channel Islands because that’s where they give birth.”

“That’s one of the first things we learned about when we arrived in San Francisco, Pier 39, since 1990, it’s the sea lions I hear,” one woman explained her rather loud introduction to her newfound Bay Area home.

It’s not just grownups who know and love the sea lions, of course.

“They like to play a lot,” one young spectator pointed out.

“They remind me of watching my kids, or like me and my brothers, pushing each other off the bed,” the boy’s father interjected.

Admittedly, there’s no hard data to support or explain the sea lions’ noisy emergency at Pier 39 23 years ago, but locals, tourists – and business owners agree – they are welcome here.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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