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Keywords:

  • Australian fur seal;
  • Arctocephalus pusillus;
  • doriferus;
  • diving behavior;
  • foraging;
  • translocation;
  • TDR

ABSTRACT

This study reports some of the first foraging behavior data collected for male fur seals. A nonbreeding male Australian fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, captured at a commercial salmon farm in southern Tasmania, Australia, was relocated 450 km from the site of capture. The animal was equipped with a geolocating time-depth recorder that recorded diving behavior and approximate location for the 14.4 d that it took the seal to travel down the east coast of Tasmania and be recaptured at the salmon farm. During its time at sea, the seal spent most of its time over the relatively shallow shelf waters. It spent 30% of its time ashore on a number of different haul-out sites. The deepest dive was 102 m and the maximum duration was 6.8 min. “Foraging” type dives made up 31.2% of the time at sea and had a median duration of 2.5 min and a median depth of 14 m. The seal performed these dives more commonly during the latter part of its time at sea, while it was on the east coast. Unlike other fur seal species studied to date, there was no evidence of a diurnal foraging pattern; it made dives at all times of the day and night.