Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Zealand Fur Seal

New Zealand fur seals are found in Australia, New Zealand and some sub-Antarctic islands. This guy was seen on Kangaroo Island-- home to over 30,000 of the eared seals. 
The New Zealand fur seal is distinguished from Australian fur seals by their smaller size and darker coloration. The bulls can reach up to 2.5 meters in length and weigh between 120-180 kilograms. The cows are much smaller and do not exceed 1.5 meters in length and they weigh between 35-50 kilograms.
New Zealand Fur seals feed mainly on squid and octopus during the summer months, and fish during the winter. Occasionally they will supplement their diet with small birds. Fur seals feed over vast distances and females are often away from the colony for several days before returning to feed their pups.
Fur seals were hunted in the early 1800's for their dense fur coats and blubber. An estimated 1.5 million of the animals were killed between 1792 and 1948. Today New Zealand fur seals are a protected animal though they remain on the list of Vulnerable Species.

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