South African fur seal
Facts about this animal
The adult male seal is just over 2 m long and weighs about 200 - 300 kg. It has a powerfully developed neck with a mane but lacks the crest on top of the head found in the Sub-Antarctic fur seal (A. tropicalis). Females are much smaller (about 1,5 m) and weigh between 50 and 75 kg.
The coarse outer hair of bulls may be greyish-black with a tinge of brown. Females tend to be more brownish-grey. The coat of newborn pups is black and velvety.
Within Southern African waters there are some two dozen breding colonies. In mid-October the adult males move to the "rookeries" to establish territories, which they actively defend against rival bulls. The females arrive several weeks later to give birth. A territorial bull establishes a harem of several females, with which he mates about 5 to 6 days after they have given birth. The territories and harems break up towards the end of December.
The diet of South African fur seals consists of shoaling fish such as pilchards, other fish, squid and crustaceans.
Did you know?
That the scientific name of the South African fur seal is misleading? "Pusillus" means "the smallest or very small", but actually Arctocephalus pusillus is the biggest species of the Gender Arctocephalus.
|Name (Scientific)||Arctocephalus pusillus|
|Name (English)||South African fur seal|
|Name (French)||Arctocéphale d'Afrique du Sud|
|Name (German)||Südafrikanischer Seebär, Südafrikanische Pelzrobbe|
|Name (Spanish)||Lobo marino de El Cabo, Lobo marino australiano|
|CITES Status||Appendix II|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Southern and southeastern coast of Australia and southern and southwestern coast of Africa.|
|Habitat||On land: rocky inshore islands, on sandy beaches, bare rock, boulder or pebble beaches, and sometimes caves. When they are at sea they do not travel far from land.|
|Wild population||About 1.5-2 million in Africa and 30'000-50'000 in Australia|
|Zoo population||104 reported to ISIS (2007)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 76 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
South African fur seals are exhibited in many zoos and aquariums because of their naturally inquisitive nature and their ability to playfully interact with other animals, humans and their surrounding environment. This connection allows the zoos and aquariums an excellent opportunity to educate their visitors about the role these animals play in the natural environment. Importantly, any animal presentations should convey a strong conservation message that benefits the entire species of fur seals.
Arctocephalus p. pusillus is not threatened in the wild, and no major coordinated breeding programme has been established.