Japanese Sea Lion (Zalophus japonicus)
The Japanese Sea Lion was an aquatic mammal endemic to the Sea of Japan, along the coasts of Japan, Korea and even to the Kamchatka Peninsula. Originally believed to have been a subspecies of the California Sea Lion the animal was reclassified as its own species in 2007.
The Japanese Sea Lion was mostly grey furred with males weighing between 900 and 1,200 pounds and having a length of 7 1/2 to 8 feet, larger than male California Sea Lions. Cows were considerably smaller and lighter colored.
The animal was driven to extinction in the 20th century, with the last credible sighting being the 1950s. The animal was harvested prior to the 20th century mostly for oil. The sea lions organs were sought after for use in traditional medicine and its whiskers and leather were used as pipe cleaners and leather goods.
There have been talks between the governments of Japan, Korea, and Russia of introducing California Sea Lions into this species’ former habitats but nothing yet has come of these actions.