Sea lions enjoy friendly welcome in Far East

Russia's endangered sea lions are getting help from scientists and a local businessman in the Far-East Kamchatka region. The creatures have chosen the port of Petropavlovsk as their nesting area.

The site was once their traditional breeding ground, but now it is a busy waterway – but the sea lions do not know that. The port owners have decided that it is more important to keep the sea mammals safe than drive them away.

“When we took over this [fishery] three years ago there were one or two sea lions,” says the owner of the fishery. "Last winter there were 120 of them. This quiet area is a perfect place for them to rest, and they keep spreading on.''

Sea lions travel long distances stopping over for rest. But they seem to be a problem for some Kamchatka people who scare them away throwing stones, snow balls or even bottles.

Now the port authorities are building fences to safeguard the sea lions from unwelcome visitors.

The area is planned to become a nature reserve, to match another on the coast of California, where the sea lions go after their migration.