For the past few days there has been a new fixed presence among the street vendors in the Playa Unión area, in Puerto Rawson, in Argentine Patagonia: a sea lion, or rather a marine lioness that has been called Frijolita.
She is a sea lion pup who was recently orphaned. Her mother’s body still floats in the Chubut River, which flows into the Atlantic right at Rawson. Deprived of the affection and nourishment that her mother gave her, the little girl goes to get supplies from street vendors. The latter have learned her tastes: they give her prawns already without carapace.
The provincial wildlife agency has not yet addressed the matter. Basically Frijolita is tame, but can become aggressive if someone doesn’t respect her spaces and approaches to touch her. However, the risk, more than for humans, is for the sea lioness herself. To go to the port, the animal has to cross a busy road where cars and trucks pass.
These days, even if it is not the best solution from an environmental point of view, it is the port vendors themselves who act as a shield, closing the road for a few minutes to give it time to pass. Frijolita “is doing well, she is well fed, but accommodation needs to be found because sooner or later they will run over her here”, they say from the port.