Antarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus gazella, Peters 1875).

The Antarctic fur seal lives south of the Antarctic Polar Front and has never been reported breeding in Latin America. Individuals encountered occasionally, from Peru, norther Chile, and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago to South Brazil, are likely to be vagrants from the populations of the sub-Antarctic archipelago of South Georgia and the South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula. The species is one of the smaller otariids, has a short lactation of less than 4 months, is highly sexually dimorphic, and has a high polygyny. This determines its reproductive behavior and different foraging strategies, distribution, and diet between sexes. Breeding females alternate 2- to 11-day foraging trips at sea with 1- to 3-day nursing periods on land during lactation, which constraints their foraging range and breeding success. Bulls start holding breeding territories at ages 8-9, but most will be unsuccessful, especially in densely populated areas. In the Southwest Atlantic, Antarctic fur seals are important secondary consumers and highly dependent on Antarctic krill, which is a very abundant but variable resource. Most of the world population occurs at South Georgia, where some colonies are declining because of climate effects on the food supply. Currently of least concern, its conservation status requires re-assessment with up-to-date populations evaluations.


Publication status:
Authors: Forcada, J. ORCIDORCID record for J. Forcada

Editors: Heckel, G., Schramm, Y.

On this site: Jaume Forcada
25 February, 2021
In: Heckel, G., Schramm, Y. (eds.). Ecology and Conservation of Pinnipeds in Latin America., Switzerland, Springer International Publishing, 51-76.
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