Northern Fur Seal Pictures

 
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Northern Fur Seal Photos Showing This Eared Seal of the North Pacific

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The northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, is an eared seal that inhabits coastlines of the north Pacific Ocean. It has long been hunted for its fur, and hunting persists to this day on a subsistence basis by native peoples. The species is notable for its extreme sexual dimorphism, as the males are much larger and nearly five times heavier than the females. Males aggressively compete with each other to acquire harems, which may number 50 females or more. Northern fur seals have extra long hind flippers, no fur on their front flippers, large eyes, short snouts, long whiskers, and prominent ears.

Northern fur seals inhabit coastlines on the North Pacific from Japan to Russia, across the Bering Sea to the Aleutians, and down the North American coast to Baja California. Roughly half of the estimated 1.1 million northern fur seals breed on the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. Their range is nearly the same as that of the Steller sea lion, another eared seal in the Family Otariidae, which is larger than the northern fur seal, but similar in many respects. Its range also overlaps slightly that of its close relative, the Guadalupe fur seal, which is found along the Baja California coast, and especially on Guadalupe Island of Mexico.

Northern fur seals feed on squid and fish, especially herring, anchovy, hake, mackerel, smelt, capelin and pollock. Predators of the northern fur seal are orcas and sharks, and arctic foxes prey on pups. Historically, their biggest enemy has been man. As many as 2.5 million fur seals were killed for fur between 1786 and 1867. The slaughter was stopped in 1911 when the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention went into effect. The treaty was notable for being among the first ever international treaties created to protect a particular species of wildlife. Aleut and Ainu tribes were exempt from the treaty and allowed to hunt on a subsistence basis.

The IUCN Red List lists the northern fur seal as Vulnerable. Of great concern is the sudden and precipitous decline in northern fur seal numbers in recent years despite cessation of commercial hunting. The Pribilof Islands is now seeing a decline in pup production of 6% annually, and 65% overall since the 1950s. The reasons for the decline are not known with certainty, but four contributing factors are believed to be: 1) overfishing of species fur seals prey on 2) mortality from marine pollutants 3) deaths by net entanglement, and 4) increased killer whale predation.

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Picture of the northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, endangered, St. Paul Island, Alaska, Pacific

Picture #: 092096

Image of northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, San Miguel Island, California, East Pacific

Picture #: 011695

Photo of the northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, endangered, St. George Island, Alaska, Pacific

Picture #: 092095

Stock photo of northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, San Miguel Island, California, East Pacific

Picture #: 000394

picture of northern fur seal picture of northern fur seal picture of northern fur seal picture of northern fur seal

Picture of the northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, San Miguel Island, California, East Pacific

Picture #: 017304

Image of northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, bull, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 011229

Photo of the northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, San Miguel Island, California, East Pacific

Picture #: 017305

Stock photo of northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 097978

picture of northern fur seal      

Image of northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 097979

     

 

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