PUP PRODUCTION AND POPULATION TRENDS OF THE AUSTRALIAN FUR SEAL (ARCTOCEPHALUS PUSILLUS DORIFERUS)

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Abstract

We estimated the number of live Australian fur seal pups using capture-markresights, direct ground counts, or aerial photography at all breeding sites following the pupping season of November-December 2002. Pups were recorded at 17 locations; nine previously known colony sites, one newly recognized colony and seven haul-out sites where pups are occasionally born. In order of size, the colonies were Lady Julia Percy Island (5,899 pups), Seal Rocks (4,882), The Skerries (2,486), Judgment Rocks (2,427), Kanowna Island (2,301), Moriarty Rocks (1,007), Reid Rocks (384), West Moncoeur Island (257), and Tenth Island (124). The newly recognized site was Rag Island, in the Cliffy Group, where we recorded 30 pups. We also recorded pups at the following haul-out sites: Cape Bridge-water (7 pups), Bull Rock (7), Wright Rock (5), Twin Islet (1), The Friars (1), He des Phoques (1), and Montague Island (1). In total, we estimate there were 19,819 (SE = 163) live pups at the time of the counts. We discuss trends in pup numbers and derive current population estimates for the Australian fur seal.

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