Ugamak Island is about 5.2 miles (8.4 km) long, located 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Unalaska and 36 miles (58 km) east of Akutan, Alaska. The island is the easternmost of the Krenitzin Island group, in the Fox Islands of the Eastern Aleutians. The Aleut name was transcribed by Father Veniaminov in 1840 as “Ostrov Ugamak” which, according to R.H. Geoghegan, may mean “ceremony island”.
The rocky reefs surrounding Ugamak Island are used by Steller sea lions as haulouts and rookeries. A summer field camp has been established here by the National Marine Fisheries Service to monitor sea lion population trends. Studies here and at other sites have found that the Steller sea lion population in the western Gulf of Alaska declined by 75% between 1976 and 1990.
Many factors may have contributed to the population decline including incidental mortality in fisheries, illegal and legal shooting, predation, and diseases. There may also have been indirect effects such as climate change which would alter food abundance and distribution, or prey species composition leading to nutritional stress. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ugamak Island here: