In Peru, you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience by swimming next to sea lions in the 39 rock islands near Lima, but activists warn that it might be an activity that is greatly affecting wildlife in the area.
According to The Washington Post, “the largely unregulated eco-tourism activity could be potentially dangerous and disruptive to the wild animals and their habitat”. Just last year, more than 20,000 tourists visited the sea lion reserve, say numbers from the government.
Most of the tourists stop at Palomino Island, which is about 3 miles – or 5 kilometers – away from the Peruvian coast.
Sea lions in this area can be seen bathing and eating abundant fish in the cold-water Humboldt current, also known as the Peru Current and consists of a cold, low-salinity ocean current that flows north along the western coast of South America.
“Many tourists swim just feet away from the giant mammals and snap selfies near the rocks. Small motor boats shuttle onlookers past the island throughout the day”, said The Washington Post, assuring that local tour operators appear grateful for the economic boost.