Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
FALKLANDS FUR SEALSArctocephalus australis australis
Breeding Range: Falklands Islands
Length: Males: 1.9m, Females: 1.2m
Weight: Males: 160kg, Females: 50kg
Falklands Population: ~8,000 breeding females
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)
Fur Seals are mostly found in the north west of the Falklands, with all but one of the 16 breeding sites being on offshore islands. Rocky shores are chosen for breeding, which begins in November when bulls establish territory. Females arrive in late November, and give birth to pups during December. Females mate soon after pupping, and then spend much of their time at sea, returning every few days to suckle their pups. Adults and pups remain around the breeding sites throughout the year, with pups being suckled for around 6 months. Fur Seals dive to depths of around 30- 40m, feeding mainly on Lobster Krill.
The Falkland Islands Fur Seal was brought to the very brink of extinction by sealers during the 19th century, but it has subsequently recovered to a modest level. Populations are currently stable, and this is aided by the fact that Lobster Krill, the main prey of Fur Seal, is not targeted by commercial fisheries.