SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The sea lions have been a part of San Francisco’s Pier 39 for decades and are among the Bay Area’s most famous tourist attractions. But now, the sea creatures have disappeared.

On Thursday, the docks where the sea lions have made themselves at home were empty. There were even signs posted at the pier asking where they have gone.

“Came to see the sea lions and we hear they went south to go mate, so there’s none here,” said Thomas Crombie, a tourist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “I saw one earlier today. A little disappointed but nature has a way of interrupting things sometimes.”

According to Pier 39’s sea lion website, most sea lion pups are born on the Channel Islands off Southern California in June. They also migrate across the Pacific Coast, from Vancouver to the southern tip of Baja California.

The sea lions first took over the docks at Pier 39 shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. In 2009, the number of sea lions living at Pier 39 hit a record of 1,701. Most of the sea lions who live on the pier are males.

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