Bayworld Oceanarium

Subantarctic Fur Seal

Common name: Subantarctic fur seal

Scientific name: Arctocephalus tropicalis

Subantarctic fur seals are beautiful animals, with a brown head and back, and a creamy white or orange face and chest. The males reach 70 – 165 kg, while females reach 25 – 67 kg. Newborn pups weigh around 4 kg. They breed in summer when adult males establish territories on rock beaches. Pups are born during this time and are looked after by their mothers for 11 months. During this time they will swap between spending a few days ashore feeding their pups, with several days of weeks hunting at sea.

Subantarctic fur seals haul out to breed, moult and rest on the islands of the Southern Ocean with big populations at Gough, Marion and Prince Edward. While numbers were reduced in the 18th and 19th centuries due to sealing, they are now much more abundant. Subantarctic fur seals are great travellers with vagrant animals coming ashore on all Southern Hemisphere continents. Individuals often come ashore on the South African coast in winter where they are easy to identify by their colouration.

Smuggler, Miki and Carli are all resident Subantarctic fur seals at Bayworld. A number of young animals of this species are also taken in for rehabilitation every winter.

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