Facts and Knowledge:
The Northern fur seal is the most common of the fur seals and is closely related to the sea lion. It is on of the three species of fur sea still hunted for its fur. The northern fur seal was discovered off Alaska on the Commander Islands in 1741, and it was later found on the Pribiof islands in 1786. The huge males males up to five times as much as the smaller females and spend most of their time defending their breeding territories.
Habits: The Male and female seals come together only once during the breeding season. Once they are mature, males never stray far from the breeding area. Females. however, make an annual migration to hunt in waters as far south as California. Much more agile than true seals, (which do not have external ears), the northern fur seal uses it hind flippers to move quickly over short distances. When seals propel them selves through the water almost entirely be their hind flippers, but the fur seal uses both it webbed from flippers as well its it hind flippers. The northern fur seal's senses are well developed, but how it navigates underwater is still unknown. Scientist believe that it may rely on the taste or smell of various ocean currents for guidance..
Breeding: In June, males seals, called bulls, compete to establish territories before the females, or cows, arrive on the beaches. Each bull gradually acquires a harem of up to 40 cows. Within 48 hours of arriving at the breeding site, each cow gives birth to a single, small, black pup that was conceived during the previous year's mating season. Several days later the female mates with a dominant bull and , after suckling her pup for a few days, returns to the sea to hunt. after three months the pups are weaned, and they accompany the females on their migration south. The males remain in their territories for three months with out eating.
Food & Feeding: The northern fur seal spends most of its life hunting for food in the north Pacific. Its main food is fish, although it also eats squid and crustaceans. Like other seals, the northern full seal uses uses it whiskers to catch fish. Each whisker has a nerve ending that detect the vibrations made by passing fish. During the breeding season the females leave their pups regularly to make extended hunting trips.. They travel distances of up to a hundred miles and are often gone for seven to eight days. The seals swim , rest, and sleep on the surface of the water until they reach suitable feeding grounds. They hunt mainly y at night and can say submerged for periods up to seven minutes at a time.
Seal & Man:By 1934 fur traders has nearly wiped out the Pribilof northern fur seals. Other nations also endangered seals by killing them at sea. In 1911, the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and the Soviet Union agreed to honor prohibitions outlaw in the killing of fur seals at sea and to conduct studies to find ways to preventing further decline.
Key Facts:Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle, related Species
Length: Males, 7 ft, females up to 5 ft
Weight: Males 400 to 600 lbs, females 65 to 110 lbs
Sexual maturity: Male 5 years, Female 3 years
Breeding Season: June to July
Gestation: 1 year
No of young: 1
Habit: Females and young are migratory, males in well guarded territories live separately.
Call: Harsh Purring sound
Diet: Mainly Fish
Life span: 20 years
Related species: There are 7 species of
fur seal, of which 6 live in the southern hemisphere.
Distribution: Mainly Pribilof and Commander Islands in the Bering Sea, but small populations are found on islands in the sea of Okhotsk and off California.
Conservation: Hunting stopped in the United States in 1985, but 9,000 seals a year are still killed in the Solviet Union. Population decline over the last 30 years appears to have leveled off.
The Characteristics of the Northern Fur Seal:
Besides the huge difference in size the MALE and FEMALE, the heavier male has a massive neck with especially thick fur.
The layer of fatty tissue beneath the fur helps conserve heat and streamlines the body for swimming.
Both the male and female northern fur seals live on their blubber during the breeding season.
Because the animals are crowed together at the breeding sites. Newborn fur seals are often trampled to death by fighting males.
Did you know:
Male and females seals are so different is size that some naturalist once thought they were different species.
Fur seals are known to eat 63 species of fish but usually feed on just eight.
Most seals dive to an average depth of 200 feet, but fur seals dive to 600 ft.
The females annual migration to and from the breeding grounds is the longest undertaken by any seal species. The trip can be as far as 6,000 miles.
One of the main reasons the United States purchased Alaska from m the Soviet Union in the 1800's was to obtain the Pribilof Islands fur trade. Revenues paid for the purchased with in three years.
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